The CUPRA car brand, launched in 2018, has its work cut out as it tries to establish itself in the Irish market. Today the Formentor CUV crossover was launched to the press and it is the first of many stand alone CUPRA’s we will see in the coming years. The SEAT sporty sub-brand says its cars are a step above the ordinary and an alternative to premium brands. CUPRA Ireland sees a unique selling space between these two demographics. CUPRA ‘SEATs’ to date have always been fun as they were the high performance versions of mainstream SEATs – so the big question is can CUPRA cut it as a brand in Ireland’s relatively tiny car market?
Niall Phillips, Brand Director, SEAT/CUPRA Ireland said both brands take on very separate roles within the Volkswagen Group with completely different target groups. Phillips pointed out SEAT buyers are 10 years younger on average. The CUPRA brand is being targeted at men (61% male / 39% female) in particular aged between 35-54. 80% of buyers will have a third level education and a €60,000-80,000 average income. Existing coupe owners and others who have an eye for style and good looks are also in the target group.
CUPRA has developed its own four vehicle range of performance cars based on the Leon (hatch and estate), Ateca (compact SUV) and now its own Formentor (CUV). On the way is the electric CUPRA ‘Born’ and we were also given a glimpse of the stunning looking CUPRA Tavascan. The Formentor comes with diesel, petrol and E-Hybrid PHEV power. PHEV or plug in hybrid will account for circa 50% of Formentor sales. Pricing starts from €37,135 (150hp petrol) rising to €64,425 (310hp AWD petrol). Cupra Ireland says its pricing represents excellent value for money when you examine its vehicles high amount of standard specification.
CUPRA says its sales method will be an important part of how it goes about its business in Ireland. It says it is emphasising employment of dedicated ‘CUPRA Specialists’ who will be a single point of contact for CUPRA buyers (pre and post sale). In Ireland there are four dealers (two in Dublin, one each in Cork and Limerick) and this figure could be doubled by the end of this year. Sales will be modest and when asked no figures were given. 2022 will see a big shift for CUPRA with the ‘Born’ EV going on sale and signalling the brands electric future.
We look forward to testing the CUPRA Formentor in the coming weeks.