Seat aims for 500,000 electric cars per year
Seat wants to produce 500,000 electric cars per year in Spain from 2025 for its own label and other Volkswagen Group brands. Seat announced the target along with its own new ‘urban electric vehicle’ at the company’s annual press conference.
Seat’s new urban vehicle, a tiny electric car, currently only exists as a concept sketch. Seen from the side, the still nameless model is more reminiscent of a Honda e than the Group’s small car trio VW e-Up, Skoda Citigo-e iV, and Seat Mii electric. Apart from the price range of 20,000 to 25,000 euros and a planned premiere in 2025, no details about the vehicle have been confirmed.
In 2025, the VW subsidiary plans to build half a million electric cars at its main plant near Barcelona, as Seat boss Wayne Griffiths announced at the annual press conference. “The exact volume will depend on how many brands launch entry-level vehicles in the initial phase. Volkswagen, Skoda and possibly in the future Audi will be involved in the project, and there would be a second phase after that going towards 2030,” the executive added.
It remains to be seen exactly which models are to be built at Seat since “urban electric vehicles” is a rather broad definition. This could mean the electric small car which, according to current rumours, is being developed by Volkswagen Anhui in China. After production of the VW ID.2 and a Seat/Cupra offshoot has started in China, both models could also be built in Martorell from 2025, according to the rumours.
Seat now says that they would designate the Spanish production facility to manufacture the vehicle in the coming months. Besides, Seat wants to not only wants to produce electric vehicles “but also to lead the development of the entire project for the Volkswagen Group”. This would again speak against the ID.2 – since Seat was deprived of the development of the small electric car below the size of the MEB platform because of numerous delays, after which the small car project was relocated to VW itself and then later transferred to the JAC joint venture Volkswagen Anhui.
By the time Seat officially confirms the small electric car plant – the brand currently has no other vehicle plant in Spain – the company apparently wants a funding commitment from Brussels. Here, the battery factory in the Barcelona area also plays an important role. “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,” Griffiths added. “The support of the Spanish Government and the EU Commission for this cross-sectorial and the nation-wide plan is needed for the Volkswagen Group to be able to take the final decision on its execution,” Griffiths concludes.
The Born, the first electric car from the Cupra sub-brand, is due to be launched at the end of 2021. This will be the counterpart to the VW. ID.3 Pro S, the Born will be built together with the ID.3 in Zwickau. In addition, Griffiths confirmed that the Cupra Tavascan will be built in series from 2024. The model is an independently designed offshoot of the VW ID.5. The MEB SUV coupé is to be launched “in Europe and overseas”. Griffiths did not specify which plant this would come from.
“Overseas” here could really include sales countries on the other side of the globe: Cupra is due to launch in Australia from 2022, where preparations are apparently already underway. “Australia is a young market, and Cupra is a young brand. Customers are looking for new brands, there is a high middle-class income, and it is a progressive society. We are confident that Cupra can be successful in this country,” Griffiths says.
For Seat, 2020 was a damper on the British CEO’s growth plans because of the Corona crisis. The Spanish brand reported minus 418 million euros for 2020 (2019: 352 million euros) in terms of operating profit. After taxes, the loss was -194 million euros (2019: 346 million euros).
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.