SEAT has become the latest brand to ramp up its electrification strategy, announcing that it will launch a total of six pure-electric or plug-in hybrid cars by 2021.
The electric strategy, that also extends to SEAT’s performance-focused sub-brand Cupra, involves two pure electric and four plug-in hybrid models. The EVs will be a version of the existing Mii city car and the purpose-built El-Born – previewed by a concept model at the Geneva motor show last month.
Plug-in hybrid powertrains will then be offered on the next-generation Leon hatchback and Tarraco SUV, while Cupra will also offer them on its version of the Leon and the forthcoming Formentor coupe-SUV.
The El-born will put Seat at the head of the Volkswagen Group’s electrification strategy – it will be the first brand to access the low-cost, purpose-built MEB platform that will eventually underpin all of the group’s compact EVs.
According to SEAT CEO Luca de Meo, the brand now has a clearer role in the Volkswagen Group. “Thanks to the results obtained, we have earned the new electric vehicle platform,” he said.
“For the first time, the SEAT Technical Centre will be developing a platform that may be used by more brands around the globe.”
Seat has dedicated 300 engineers to the project in Spain, and says that eventually the brand will produce electric vehicles priced at less than 20,000 Euros (£17,125).
The brand announced the electric strategy at its annual media conference, where it also revealed its best-ever financial results. Operating profit grew by 93% in 2018, to 223 million Euros.
“2018 was the best year in the history of SEAT,” De Meo said. “For the first time, we have good products in the relevant and most profitable segments, which has led us to become one of the fastest growing brands in Europe in the past three years.
“The SUV offensive we began in 2016 exceeded our most optimistic expectations and one out of every three cars sold last year entered in this category. SEAT can now look the future straight in the eyes.”