Cupra testing in U.S. market ahead of potential expansion

Last summer, Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths hinted that the Spanish brand could make an entrance into the U.S. market but gave few details of how or when it would make that move. InsideEVs reported that Griffiths recently opened up a bit more during the automaker’s annual news conference, saying that Cupra had been testing vehicles with American consumers and found positive results.

Part of the Volkswagen Automotive Group in Europe and a performance-oriented spin-off of the Seat brand, Cupra makes sharply styled vehicles with a performance flair. The brand has been riding a growth wave for the past few years, expanding outside Europe into Australia, Mexico, Turkey, and soon South America. That expansion could come here, as Griffiths outlined the company’s efforts in the states during the press conference.

“As far as our ambition of being truly global, we are currently analyzing a possible entry into the North American market. At the moment, we are testing our brand with potential clients; we think Americans would love Cupra’s design and great performance.” He didn’t elaborate on which cars would come when Cupra arrives on our soil but said that American tastes lean toward larger EVs that the company doesn’t currently offer.

Speaking with Autocar, Griffiths said that to be successful here, “you need a car in the U.S. that’s fit for the U.S. and electric. A U.S. electric car is generally bigger, so it will be a next generation of electric cars that would be based on the SSP platform from VW.” He said the costs involved with such an effort would be “considerable.” He noted that the automaker needs to bolster its position in Europe before targeting American drivers. It’s worth noting that Cupra’s EV lineup currently consists of the Born, which shares underpinnings with the VW ID.3.

As for when we’ll see our first American-sold Cupra, it could be awhile. Griffiths noted that the move would coincide with the automaker going all-electric. That’s scheduled to be complete by 2030, but Cupra’s efforts to solidify its European position could be an uphill battle. As InsideEVs noted, the company wants to grow its market share from 1.2% to at least 3%, which won’t be easy given the proliferation of compelling EV models on the continent.

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