Seat to spin off Cupra as hot sub-brand

Well-received and sporty concept names also live on as Seat trademarks Tango, Bolero and Salsa for potential upcoming sporting models

A series of trademarks filed by Seat suggest that the brand may be preparing its Cupra sporting line into a full-blown spin-off akin to Audi Sport, Mercedes-Benz’s AMG and, most recently, Volvo’s Polestar.

The Cupra name stays the same in the trademark record but sits alongside an aggressive-looking badge that has not been seen before. The badge suggests more prominence for the sporting offshoot than is currently the case.

The trademarking of several names – Tango, Salsa and Bolero – from Seat’s past concept cars also suggests stand-alone status for Cupra-badged models. These names were previously used for sporty concepts in three different segments. 

The Salsa concept bore more than a passing resemblance to a sporty Leon; in fact, the concept, revealed in 2000, previewed the next-generation Leon. The Bolero took the shape of a muscular sports saloon, with discreet rear doors giving a more coupé-like profile.

Taking the form of a small, taut convertible, the Tango, which was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in 2001, received wide acclaim and was pitched as a rival to the Mazda MX-5.

However, none of the three concepts reached production.

Seat’s expansion of its Cupra-badged sporting range continues. It has launched a Cupra 300 version of its Leon hatchback and is developing the Ateca Cupra for a launch early next year. More models will follow, including an expected mega hatch, believed to be badged Leon Cupra R. A trademark for this car’s badge was also filed, with a checkered flag incorporated into the R. 

The Cupra brand has been scaled back from smaller bodystyles, however. Seat recently announced that there would not be an Ibiza Cupra, while a Mii Cupra has never been considered, despite a warm version of its predecessor in the form of the Arosa Sport, and a distant warmed-up relative in the Up GTI.

If the Tango reaches production in its original convertible bodystyle, it will be the first drop-top car the Spanish manufacturer has produced and will sit as a halo car to the Seat and Cupra brands. 

Seat played down the prominence of the trademarks, issuing the following statement: “Seat is continuously registering possible names for future models or projects. This is a customary process not only for Seat but also for other automotive and consumer goods brands.

“The names Seat registers are not necessarily for specific future models, but also names that we like and we would like to have in the reserve. We have many names registered just in case.”

Source: Autocar Online

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