Australia to become a stepping stone for the Volkswagen-owned Spanish brand Cupra.
Spanish car brand Cupra – once the performance offshoot of Seat but now a standalone badge within the Volkswagen automotive group – says its arrival in Australian showrooms later this year will eventually springboard it into North America.
However, for now, Cupra executives say there are no plans to introduce the line-up in China – the biggest new-car market in the world, ahead of the USA.
“There are markets outside of Australia that we’re developing,” Cupra’s global boss Wayne Griffiths told media during a visit to Australia this week to open the company’s Sydney CBD showroom.
“We’re strong in South America, particularly in Mexico but also in Colombia and Chile,” said Mr Griffiths.
“On top of that, obviously if you want to become a global brand – our reason for coming to Australia – is to prove that we can become a global brand.
“Then obviously you need to look at markets like North America, but that would only be in a second phase.
“For now there is no decision being made on North America, but we’re starting to analyse (the market).”
When asked if Cupra had plans to introduce the brand in China, Mr Griffiths told a roundtable conference with Australian media: “Not at the moment”.
“The Volkswagen Group has a quite a dominant share (in China) among its existing brands,” said Mr Griffiths.
“They have a very strong position with Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda. So to go to China? Not at the moment. We have more priority for the US.”
Mr Griffiths said Cupra did not model itself on any other automotive brand in particular “because when you try and benchmark yourself, then you end up copying something.”
“We don’t want to copy somebody, we want to do something new. We want to do emotional, sexy cars that are fun to drive in an electrified world.”
However, Mr Griffiths said he did have respect for the rapid growth of Tesla and how it has forged a path for the mass take-up of electric cars globally.
“I think where Tesla is a competitor, it’s been one of the first movers in electrification and therefore it is a successful electric brand,” Mr Griffiths told media.
“We have respect for Tesla. They’ve made a huge step and they’ve been part of helping accelerate (the acceptance and adoption of) electric cars.”
Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.