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VW’s Spanish Performance Brand Cupra Eyeing Possible US Entry: Report

The Volkswagen Group's hot spin-off from Seat just expanded to Australia and the U.S. may be next.
Cupra Leon

Cupra is one of the most interesting Volkswagen Group brands that we don’t get in the United States, but that could be changing soon, Drive reported this week. Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths confirmed in Australia they hope to use their expansion into the Australian market as a springboard into new ones—starting with the United States. 

“There are markets outside of Australia that we’re developing,” Griffiths told Drive. “We’re strong in South America, particularly in Mexico but also in Colombia and Chile.”

“On top of that, obviously if you want to become a global brand—our reason for coming to Australia—is to prove that we can become a global brand,” Griffiths said. “Then obviously you need to look at markets like North America, but that would only be in a second phase.”

Cupra lineup

While there is some confusion on geography going on in Griffiths’ comments—Mexico is in North America, my dude—what’s clear is the company has aspirations for the U.S. No decision has been made yet on entering any additional North American markets, but Griffiths told Drive that the company is already starting to analyze the market. One market Cupra has no plans to expand to is China, despite that being the largest new-car market in the world. According to Griffiths, the Volkswagen Group already has a strong lineup there without needing Cupra to join in.

“The Volkswagen Group has quite a dominant share [in China] among its existing brands,” Griffiths told Drive. “They have a very strong position with Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda. So to go to China? Not at the moment. We have more priority for the U.S.”

Cupra started as a performance badge for the Spanish Volkswagen Group subsidiary Seat, but it was spun off into its own brand, which now makes sporty cars with cool, unique copper-hued accents. Needless to say, I’d love to see them bring over a hot hatch given that we’ve seen so many leave the U.S. market in recent years. 

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