The Volkswagen Group’s sporty Spanish spin-off has officially committed to bringing its electric city hatchback Down Under.
The Cupra Born is on track to arrive in Australia late in 2022 or early in 2023, at which point it’s likely to become the Volkswagen Group’s first electric model Down Under.
“The Cupra Born will be a challenge, to get that car ready, but it’s something I am committed to doing,” Cupra global boss Wayne Griffiths told Australian media.
“We can’t just come [to Australia] with the Cupra Formentor, we need to have the Cupra Electric cars – the Cupra Born, the Cupra Tavascan, and the Cupra Urban Rebel – ready for Australia,” he said.
Volkswagen and Skoda have struggled to get their new electric cars to Australia due to our relaxed emissions standards, along with heavy demand in Europe.
Cupra says it won’t have the same issues with the Born, because it’s much smaller than its Volkswagen Group stablemates.
“For us, Australia is more important than many other markets,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Australia will be our first time going global… we put our resources on fixing an electric car for Australia as an objective and a priority.
“I think Volkswagen Group and Skoda, because they’re already global and a lot of other markets, they probably don’t give Australia the priority. For us, it will have a high priority.”
Cupra says homologating the car for Australia isn’t a problem, nor are our lax emissions standards. At the moment, it’s working to make the car’s internet-connected infotainment technology talk with Australian networks.
Cupra Australia boss Ben Wilks said the Cupra team is “working at top speed” to get the Born into local showrooms.
The Cupra Born is built on the same rear-wheel drive MEB electric car platform as the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, along with the Skoda Enyaq and Audi Q4 e-tron.
The Born is offered with two drivetrains we’ve already seen in the ID.3, with either a 110kW or 150kW motor driving the rear wheels.
To justify its sportier positioning and styling, there’s also an e-Boost option that increases the power output to 170kW.
Regardless of power output, peak torque from the motor is 310Nm.
With a 58kWh battery pack the Born e-Boost is capable of reeling off the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.6 seconds, but this rises to 7.0 seconds with the heavier 77kWh battery. A 45kWh battery pack is available on base models.
Depending on the battery and motor combination chosen, driving range is between 340km and 550km according to the WLTP test.
Cupra is on track to touch down in Australia during the middle of 2022 with three models, two of which will be offered with plug-in hybrid power.
The latest Volkswagen Group plug-in hybrid range has previously been off the table for Australia, so Cupra bringing two options Down Under is a big deal.
Moving to full-electric is arguably more significant, of course.
Having launched as a standalone brand (rather than a performance trim on Seat cars) in 2018, Cupra sold more than 27,000 cars in 2020.
The Formentor is the brand’s biggest car overseas, accounting for around two thirds of all sales.
Pricing for the range will start just above $40,000 and is expected to top out just above $60,000 in Australia.
The Volkswagen Golf-sized Leon hatchback, Skoda Karoq-sized Ateca SUV, and the standalone Formentor SUV will be the three cars driving Cupra at launch Down Under.
Australia is the first step in Cupra’s broader global expansion. It’s being used as a test bed for the wider Asia Pacific region, and Cupra will differentiate itself from its VW stablemates with a direct sales model.
“In the past, Seat and our brand was very focused on Europe,” said Wayne Griffiths.
“I think with Cupra we have the opportunity of going global.”
MORE: Cupra launch range for Australia detailed