The Volkswagen Group revealed its "New Auto" strategy this week about how it plans to gradually phase out combustion engines and roll out more fully electric vehicles. Aside from the fact that Bugatti was not mentioned at all during the livestream in the aftermath of the company's merger with Rimac, there was an interesting moment in the first part of the event.
VW Group chairman Herbert Diess – who recently signed an extension of his contract until October 2025 - talked about SEAT's spin-off Cupra and how great it's doing these days. Taking advantage of the hardware developed by parent company VW, the three-year-old Spanish brand is apparently already outselling Alfa Romeo as per a statement made by the Munich-born executive.
2022 Cupra Born
A question arises from this comparison – do people actually see Alfa Romeo and Cupra as direct rivals? Sure, they’re both sporty brands, but their lineups are completely different. The Italian marque is down to just two models – Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV – while Cupra sells the Born electric compact hatchback and the Formentor crossover – both significantly smaller than current Alfas. Cupra also offers amped-up SEATs, namely the Leon hatchback/wagon duo and the Ateca SUV.
It would appear the VW Group has a fixation for Alfa Romeo after multiple failed attempts to acquire the fabled company based in Turin. As a refresher, former chairman Ferdinand Piëch said back in 2011 that Alfa would flourish under VW's control by gaining access to Porsche engines. The Italian brand didn't switch hands a decade ago, nor was it sold to the German automotive conglomerate in 2018 when a new offer was reportedly made.
Alfa Romeo will have a direct rival for Cupra's compact crossover offerings next year when the Tonale will be released, complete with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The VW Group-owned company is not wasting any time either as it's prepping the Tavascan for a 2024 release as its first fully electric crossover.