Cupra is officially on the board in Australia.
The sporty Spanish brand, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, recorded 49 deliveries in July 2022.
The brand has confirmed those cars were all internal registrations, for media and staff training, with customer deliveries set to kick off in August. Of those cars, 26 were the Formentor, 13 were the Leon, and 10 were the Ateca.
Cupra told CarExpert there are between 200 and 300 confirmed orders across the three model lines already in Australia.
The Formentor accounts for the majority of interest for customers, with the remainder split relatively evenly between the Leon and Ateca at launch.
Launch buyers are opting mostly for high-spec cars with plenty of options fitted, including the hero matte paint colours.
Any new orders placed online from now on will be MY23 cars. The details of what’s changed, and what the cars cost, are here.
According to Cupra Australia director Ben Wilks, close to half of all buyers are using Cupra finance on their orders.
The brand is launching with guaranteed future value (GFV) leasing locally, offering buyers a level of protection against poor resale value if it doesn’t take off in Australia.
Cupra is confident, however, it’ll quickly find its feet locally. Mr Shafer said the brand has “strong production and support from the factory”, and global boss Wayne Griffiths last month confirmed he’s targeting 7000 sales per year in Australia by 2025.
That figure would put Cupra alongside the likes of Renault and Land Rover based on current sales numbers.
Mr Griffiths says beyond just sales numbers, Cupra is putting a premium on brand building.
“The measure of success for me won’t be how many cars [Cupra] sells, or whatever,” Cupra boss Wayne Griffiths told Australian media.
“It’s whether we really hit a nerve with the brand or not, with the target group. With the young, next-generation car buyers – whether they think Cupra is a cool, desirable brand.”
According to Mr Griffiths, that 7000-vehicle target is reliant on growing demand for electric vehicles in Australia, where the technology is still finding its feet. The “second offensive” of products (detailed here) is also key.
“If we want to get to that level it assumes the electric market takes off in Australia, because without that we won’t have the base,” Mr Griffiths said.
Australia is being pitched as an important market for the Cupra brand, which has bold global expansion plans.
Having debuted in Europe as a spinoff of the Seat brand, it wants to sell 500,000 cars per year worldwide in the medium term.
Stay tuned for Cupra Formentor VZ/VZe, Ateca VZx, and Leon VZx reviews on August 18.