Volkswagen Group's Cupra brand is seriously considering an expansion to the US market by the end of the decade.
Since becoming a standalone brand in 2018, the sporty EV-focused marque has increased its presence outside Europe, opening stores in big markets such as Mexico, Australia, and Turkey. It will soon add Colombia and Chile to the list.
But the United States seems to be the big prize for Cupra, which has started market testing for a possible expansion to North America's biggest car market, as SEAT and Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths said at Cupra's annual news conference earlier this week.
"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."
SEAT and Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths
The executive added that the first results of those tests are very promising, but did not say which models Cupra might sell on the US market. However, in an interview with Autocar, Griffiths admitted that Cupra needs larger, all-electric models if it wants to enter the US market and be successful.
Gallery: 2024 Cupra Tavascan
"You need a car in the US that's fit for the US and electric," he told the British publication. "A US 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 noted that the investments for making cars ready for America are "considerable," adding that Cupra needs to be stronger first in Europe before embarking on a US expansion. Since the Scalable Systems Platform has been delayed to around 2028, we can deduce that Cupra may land stateside toward the end of the decade.
Cupra currently sells only one BEV, the Born hatchback that's based on the Volkswagen ID.3. The brand will start selling the Tavascan compact electric crossover in 2024, with the model to enter production in a VW joint venture factory in Anhui, China later this year.
A third BEV, the Cupra UrbanRebel small hatchback, will launch in 2025 based on VW Group's MEB Entry platform. It will be made in Martorell, Spain, alongside the Volkswagen ID.2.
Griffiths said the timing of a US market launch would be linked to Cupra becoming an electric-only brand, which should happen by 2030 according to the company's projections. The executive added that Cupra also needs to establish itself in Europe as a new brand.
The brand is targeting a European market share of 3 to 4 percent from a current share of 1.2 percent at the end of February. Cupra has set a goal of selling 500,000 cars a year by 2025.