Despite previous reports that SEAT had launched its last new model, new reports suggest the brand will live on through a new entry-level electric small city car.

    Autocar reports the Spanish brand is set to launch an affordable sibling electric vehicle (EV) of the upcoming Volkswagen ID.1.

    This is despite Volkswagen brand CEO Thomas Schäfer saying late last year that “the future of SEAT is Cupra,” and that all current SEAT models will be retired at the end of their current lifecycles.

    The ID.1 is set to replace the e-Up as the opener into VW’s EV range, suggesting this SEAT counterpart would replace the Mii as the brand’s gateway electric offering.

    Brand director of both Seat and Cupra, Marcus Gossen, told Autocar that “SEAT will have a car in five years’ time” as the brand apparently continues to evolve alongside its more luxurious counterpart.

    ‘We’re working hard to have the right entry-level for the [Volkswagen] Group, and the lead for that is Seat SA in Spain,” said Mr Gossen.

    Speaking to another British publication, Auto Express, Mr Gossen said “SEAT has to be accessible; it should be the entry-level to the group. We have exciting news coming for SEAT.”

    He confirmed to Auto Express that Seat’s presence as a manufacturer will continue until 2029.

    With SEAT to function as the VW Group’s entry-level brand, the upcoming model is reported to be cheaper than its Volkswagen counterpart at a starting price of less than £20,000 (AU$38,700).

    While Mr Gossen hinted at Seat’s continuing future, he stopped short of giving any specific confirmation, saying “There’s no statement about a BEV product for SEAT today. There’s always room for dreams… With the ID.1, you only make it work by sharing [technology].”

    This suggests the VW Group will use the SEAT brand to bring economies of scale to its upcoming electrified Volkswagen products.

    It was reported in September last year the Volkswagen Group “would find a different role” for SEAT, potentially as a mobility solutions provider considering the brand’s existing experience producing the SEAT Mo electric scooter.

    Mr Gossen also implied to Autocar that in addition to an upcoming model, the brand will also benefit from some refreshes to its current product lineup.

    Existing models such as the Ibiza light hatch, Arona small crossover and Tarraco large crossover may receive a facelift including upgrades to aesthetics and technology to allow the brand to evolve while continuing to offer customers an entryway into the VW portfolio.

    These brand changes are part of Mr Gossen’s plan to increase the combined market share of Cupra and SEAT, at least in the UK, from 3.04 per cent to 5 per cent in the “next few years”.

    In recent years, the SEAT brand has taken the backseat to sportier spinoff brand Cupra as the Volkswagen Group has continued to invest in the latter’s expansion.

    In 2022, Cupra deliveries were up 92.7 per cent, the SEAT brand was down 40.5 per cent due to SEAT S.A. prioritising higher-margin Cupra models over SEAT-badged vehicles.

    The Cupra brand alone is targeting 500,000 annual sales by 2025, with models such as the Formentor and Born accounting for the lion’s share of sales.

    Eilidh McNaughton
    Eilidh McNaughton is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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