Cupra revealed a striking sports car concept last year in the DarkRebel, but it still has yet to lock the hot electric model in for production.

    “When we showed the DarkRebel as a manifesto of what Cupra design in the future could look like. It was our maximum expression of what Cupra is, it was a provocation,” Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths told Australian media.

    “I would love to do this performance car, we’d love to have a sports car, but we need to set priorities, we need to grow the Cupra brand and therefore we need volume.

    “Obviously we have limited resources so we have to prioritise, and at the moment I think the Dark Rebel… is a dream. But you never know, if you dream big then that can come true some day.

    “But there is no concrete plan at the moment to build a car, it’s not our priority at the moment.”

    He said the brand needed to focus on expanding its lineup with higher-volume models, including the upcoming Raval electric light car, the petrol and plug-in hybrid Terramar mid-sized SUV, and the electric Tavascan SUV.

    “We have to be able to afford it,” said Mr Griffiths.

    “We posted a record result last year, but that’s an exceptional year for us, and I think we need more exceptional years at Cupra for us to make a decision like that come to life.”

    Any production DarkRebel would need to share underpinnings with other Volkswagen Group vehicles.

    “I think any new model that we bring to the market will need synergies,” said Mr Griffiths.

    “You always need this sibling… Particularly at that level of volume, in that niche market, you’re talking about thousands of cars and not hundreds of thousands of cars.

    “So I think you would always need that, but that is always the strength of the Volkswagen Group. We have so many brands, we have platforms, we have technology we can share, and we also have production sites that we can share.

    “The platform of the Dark Rebel will exist in the Volkswagen Group with or without us.

    “I think it would have to be – if the project was to be realised – it would definitely have to be a project working with other brands.

    “Then the question is: how many brands do you need in that segment? It’s a limited segment, and I don’t think that all the brands are going to be going in with a car in that segment. It wouldn’t make sense.”

    Cupra chief operating officer Sven Schuwirth indicated to CarExpert last year a production DarkRebel could share its underpinnings with the upcoming electric Porsche 718 replacement.

    “[It] could be. Because we need that performance, but from a low [hip point] and also an affordable platform – in order to achieve that price point, the ultimate price point,” he said.

    He noted it would need to be significantly below €100,000 (A$165,912) to “make sense” and to keep it from stepping on the toes of more premium Volkswagen Group brands.

    “Otherwise I think we enter the territory of luxury brands which is not our aim, because keeping in mind we are positioned as a contemporary brand, always looking for the younger generations. That’s not our direction,” Mr Schuwirth said.

    A report from Autocar earlier this year said the Volkswagen Group was considering sharing the electric 718 platform with not only Cupra, but also with the Audi and Volkswagen brands for revived TT and Scirocco models, respectively.

    The Volkswagen and Cupra would reportedly use a longer wheelbase than the others to free up more room for back-seat passengers.

    The next 718’s platform is beleived to be a modified version of the Porsche/Audi co-developed Premium Platform Electric that underpins the new electric Porsche Macan and Audi Q6 e-tron.

    In order to make the PPE setup more suitable for electric sports cars, the next-generation Boxster/Cayman will have its battery pack located along a centre tunnel and behind the passenger cabin.

    Mr Griffiths agreed a production DarkRebel would serve as an excellent halo model for the brand’s US-market launch, set to take place before the end of the decade.

    The brand has confirmed just two vehicles for the US market thus far: an electric next-generation Formentor, and a “big” SUV that has also been confirmed for Australia.

    MORE: Everything Cupra

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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