The SEAT S.A. company, under which the SEAT and CUPRA brands operate, today announced that it will launch an urban electric vehicle to market in 2025, priced between €20,000-€25,000.
With this vehicle, the company will enter a segment essential to making electromobility accessible and an important milestone on the road to sustainability, fighting climate change.
Additionally, it was confirmed CUPRA will launch the Tavascan in 2024. The CUPRA Tavascan will be the brand’s second 100 per cent electric model, following the CUPRA Born launched later in 2021.
At the company’s Annual Press Conference, the Spanish company presented an ambitious plan, called Future Fast Forward, with a key pillar the production of urban electric vehicles in Spain from 2025.
SEAT S.A. President, Wayne Griffiths commented: “We want to manufacture electric cars in Spain starting in 2025. Our ambition is to produce more than 500,000 urban electric cars per year in Martorell also for the Volkswagen Group but we need a clear commitment by the European Commission.”
SEAT S.A. aims not only to produce electric vehicles but also to lead the development of the entire project for the Volkswagen Group. “Our plan is to transform our Technical Center, the only one of its kind in southern Europe and an essential R&D asset for the region”, continued Griffiths. “We believe that it’s part of our responsibility to electrify Spain. 70 years ago, we put this country on wheels. Our aim, now, is to put Spain on electric wheels.”
“We’ve drawn up the plan, we have the right partners on-board and we’re generally ready to invest. This project is intended to become the driver for the transformation of the Spanish automotive industry. The support of the Spanish Government and the EU Commission for this cross-sectorial and nation-wide plan is needed for the Volkswagen Group to be able to take the final decision on its execution”, added Griffiths.
As the second largest car production industry in Europe, Spain has a major responsibility to reach the European Green Deal targets by 2030. To this end, the project includes the creation of an electric vehicle ecosystem, stimulating demand and developing public charging infrastructure. The next step would be to focus on localising the electric vehicle value chain, starting with the electric battery ecosystem.
The Future Fast Forward would serve as a driving force to generate employment, especially for young people. The project includes SEAT S.A. as well as governments, technological centres and large, medium and small companies. A set of 15 participating entities from at least 6 sectors support the plan: Aeorum, Antolín, Asti Mobile Robotics, CaixaBank, Delta Vigo, Ficosa, Fisas Navarro, Gestamp, Iberdrola, Lithium Iberia, Mind Caps, Sayer Technologies, SEAT S.A., Sesé and Telefónica.
CUPRA Tavascan, a dream come true
“Our dream will come true: the CUPRA Tavascan will be a reality. Based on the MEB platform of the Volkswagen Group, it will be designed and developed in Barcelona and will reach Europe and overseas markets in 2024”, explained Griffiths.
This year, CUPRA will play an important role in boosting the company’s financial results. CUPRA’s forecast is to double its sales and more than double turnover, which in 2020 amounted to around 900 million euros. The CUPRA mix will increase the company’s total volume by five to 10 per cent.
In 2022, CUPRA will open operations in Australia as part of the brand’s expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.
Target: return to profitability in 2021
COVID-19 temporarily halted SEAT S.A.’s positive trend of recent years and significantly influenced the financial results in 2020*. The company generated an operating result of -418 million euros (2019: 352 million euros) and a profit after tax of -194 million euros (2019: 346 million euros).
These results were expected given that its most important markets, such as Spain, the United Kingdom and Italy, have been some of the most affected countries in the world during the pandemic. The company’s sales followed the trend of the overall car market. Despite efforts and positive sales results when restrictions eased, it sold 427,000 units, 25.6 per cent fewer than the previous year (2019: 574,100 cars).
The slowdown in sales volumes translated into lower turnover, which decelerated to 8,784 million euros, down 21 per cent compared with the previous year (2019: 11,157 million euros). Operating result was further negatively impacted by emissions-related expenses of over 260 million euros.
SEAT S.A. President Wayne Griffiths said: “Our goal is to increase sales and recover our volumes to pre-COVID levels. In 2021 we must return to profitability. This is our financial target. We’re working hard to be in black as soon as possible.
“Key levers to achieve profitability in 2021 will be an increase in the PHEV (plug in hybrid electric vehicle) mix and the launch of the fully electric CUPRA Born, which will enable us to achieve our CO2 targets. On top of this, we will put our attention on reducing overheads and on revenue management, by focusing on the most important markets and channels”.
CUPRA’s performance was remarkable with 27,400 cars sold in 2020, reaching double-digit growth of 11 per cent versus 2019, and being one of the very few brands to grow in Europe during the COVID-19 crisis. Since the creation of the brand in 2018, CUPRA has sold more than 70,000 cars, exceeding all expectations.
2020 also yielded positive results. EBITDA (Earnings before Interests, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation) amounted to 157 million euros with a ratio of 1.8 per cent of sales. “This is an indicator that our business is robust despite the bad results in 2020. We have the foundations to go back to the positive figures of the past years”, commented SEAT S.A. Executive Vice-President for Finance & IT, Carsten Isensee.
SEAT S.A. maintained its investment level of recent years, dedicating more than one billion euros to investments and R&D expenses in 2020. This is the third year in a row with more than one billion euros has been invested. This level will be maintained in the near future with the investment plan of 5 billion euros until 2025 announced in July 2020.
Operating cash flow was positive in 2020, with 466 million euros generated. “This figure represents an achievement in the context of the economic and health crisis caused by the pandemic and is a cornerstone to realise our ambitious strategic plans. We continue to prepare for the challenges set by the automotive sector’s technological transformation, for which we must maintain the investment momentum carried out over the last years”, emphasised Isensee.
A strong company with two well-defined brands
With SEAT and CUPRA, the company is stronger and has its best product line-up ever to recover the sales figures and return to profitability. During 2021, the Formentor will be key to doubling CUPRA’s sales volume and will account for 50 per cent of CUPRA sales, with half of Formentor sales predicted to be plug-in hybrid models. The facelifted SEAT Ibiza and Arona will arrive also to the UK this year, two models which embrace SEAT’s spirit as a young, creative brand from Barcelona.
SEAT and CUPRA’s PHEV range now stands at six models: SEAT Leon, SEAT Leon Sportstourer, SEAT Tarraco, CUPRA Leon, CUPRA Leon Sportstourer and CUPRA Formentor. And by the end of year, CUPRA will launch the first brand’s 100% electric car: the CUPRA Born.