While it’s new to Australia, the Cupra Ateca is almost due for replacement, and under threat from within – but Cupra’s CEO says it’s not going anywhere.
The Cupra Ateca medium SUV will remain in showrooms for the foreseeable future, despite its donor car being due for replacement – and two more mid-size SUV models that threaten to cannibalise its sales.
While the 4.38m-long Cupra Ateca is new to Australia, it has been on sale in Europe for four years – and the car it’s based on, the regular Seat Ateca, has been marketed overseas for up to six years, and is the second-oldest vehicle in the global Seat line-up.
Despite Cupra now offering the similarly-sized 4.45m-long Formentor medium SUV – and plotting the slightly-larger 4.5m-long Terramar for 2025 – Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths says there are no immediate plans to phase out today’s Ateca.
“For the Cupra Ateca, it’s still got a good time to run,” Griffiths told Australian media at the launch of Cupra’s Sydney CBD showroom last week.
“We’ve never been able to fulfil the potential of the car; the car has always had twice the demand than the supply,” Griffiths said. “We never got the supply – the Ateca has always been [sold out], and the car in great demand.
“So I think in terms of demand, in terms of technology, the car is in great shape. We did a PA, a product improvement [i.e. mid-life facelift] of the car [in 2021] and the Cupra version of the car looks great.”
The current Ateca, Formentor and upcoming Terramar are all small to mid-size SUVs, measuring 4.4 to 4.5 metres long, underpinned by the same ‘MQB’ platform, and sharing a range of four-cylinder petrol engines.
Yet Griffiths maintains the Ateca still has a place in showrooms, as a smaller, less premium entry into Cupra’s petrol-powered SUV range – below the sportier Formentor, and more practical Terramar.
“The Cupra Terramar is in a different segment. Tt’s a bigger car than the Cupra Ateca in terms of size, and also in terms of its positioning – it will be higher position than where the Ateca [is],” Griffiths said.
“So I think the cars will run in parallel, and the Terramar won’t be substitutable – it will be a new car in a different part of the segment.”
When asked how Cupra will differentiate the three models to customers come 2025, Griffiths said: “First of all, the Formentor is unique in its segment. It’s not difficult to differentiate that because there’s no other car on a flat platform that looks like an SUV.
“That’s why the car has been such a huge success and why it hit a spot with this fantastic design – so that is a unicorn in itself. And probably the only other thing out there would be the [Porsche] Macan, with that kind of performance in that area.
The Ateca will continue to be in the smaller SUV market – an affordable entry – and the Terramar will be [in a] high position on top. More SUV, a higher car – more of an SUV car than the Formentor.
“So I think the three of them are different enough: the Ateca smaller, the Formentor flatter – also from the driving position – and the Terramar more SUV. So I think they’re differentiated enough,” Griffiths said.
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.