Volkswagen Group is in the process of finalizing plans to convert its mass-market Seat brand into a micro-mobility platform, while also preparing its sporty offshoot Cupra for a U.S. debut.
Seat CEO Wayne Griffiths stated in an interview that the restructuring will grow a variety of electric scooters and rental services known as Seat Mo. Griffiths said:
“I see an alternative in the cities to cars and also, perhaps, an alternative to privately owned cars and more subscription and sharing.”
The plans for Seat show how Volkswagen is updating its 10-brand lineup to include everything from inexpensive cars to Bentleys and Lamborghinis in the era of battery-powered and technologically advanced vehicles.
Volkswagen is investing 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion) to transform Seat’s Spanish facilities, notably the Martorell and Pamplona plants, into a European hub producing a variety of EVs. Also, Seat will be in charge of developing the Volkswagen Group’s small electric vehicles, where making a profit is expected to be difficult.
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Seat, like other automakers, is facing pressure from the European Union’s increasingly stringent pollution requirements for combustion-engine vehicles. Seat claims that implementing these standards would cost roughly 2,000 euros per vehicle. According to Griffiths, this could render a number of models outdated because it will be too expensive to comply with the law. The division produced slightly under 480,000 vehicles last year, earning an operational profit of 179 million euros.
Sales of its Cupra brand, which launched in 2018 and has models like the Formentor, more than doubled to reach over 153,000 vehicles last year. New all-electric versions are expected to spur further growth by 2025. The medium-term objective is to sell 500,000 vehicles a year.
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