You may have previously known the term Cupra more or less only in connection with Seat, however, it has been some time since the brand became independent and took a slightly different path than the original parent Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo. And since the sporty-looking Spanish cars decorated in copper color are especially about the design, we interviewed the chief designer of the Cupra brand, Jorge Díez, about this topic.
The likeable Díez, who also paints the seats, was very open and honest to our surprise when he told us, for example, that the Cupra will not appeal to everyone. He also revealed that the models are not inspired by cities, but by people, but with one small color exception.
How difficult was it to separate the Cupra brand from Seat?
Cupra started out as the sporty division of Seat, but now we’re giving it its own personality. The original Seat is a sporty mainstream, but the Cupra itself pays for an individualistic brand, understandably more expensive and without compromises, which is a bit of a risk. However, our aim is not to please everyone. Some people will not like us, but others will love us.
What is most important in defining a new brand?
Authenticity for sure. Cupra is from Spain and I think every brand should have a country of origin feel. Spain is expressive, more vocal, which should be reflected both in cars and in visits to dealerships and advertising.
Where do you get your inspiration for designing Cupra cars?
Because the brand is new, has no history, no memories, there is no need to adhere to these barriers. We can do almost anything and we do. Just look at the Formentor model, for example, which is actually a hatchback crossed with an SUV. Formentor is like two different animals coming together to create a third, different, unique one.
The Cupra stands on seven basic pillars, betting on a sharp shape of the bow and an overall different construction of vehicles. The goal is to look different, to be individual. We definitely don’t make cars just to get from A to B, which is reflected in the colors, especially our copper ones.
We are also inspired by the human body, which is why some of the shapes of our cars symbolize muscles or human characters.
Are you also inspired by cities, for example Barcelona?
You can sometimes see our copper color on the buildings of the old town in Barcelona, but the Cupra design is not about the cities, but about the people who live inside the cities.
What kind of vehicle design can we expect in the future?
I can’t tell you exactly what we are planning for the future. We are an emotional brand and we deal with how people perceive and experience emotions. We are building on this, so that people fall in love with the Cupra within seven seconds. We also focus on materials, sound and smell – no less important factors for emotions.
Will the appearance of future models be affected by the upcoming electric drive?
Partly yes, as EVs have large batteries down in the platform so they can be bulkier inside. In any case, we don’t want to make cars boring, but cars that look as good as they drive. Electric cars are heavy, but we want to design our models to look lighter. We want to emotionally connect the car with the driver.
Finally, we also deal with additional services such as virtual reality, Cupra metaversum or community connections, so that we can offer more than just the car itself.
Although Diéz sits on two chairs, according to our impression, it is quite clear where Seat should go and where the more sporty Cupra should go. Since human characters and emotions are quite variable, we ourselves are curious to see how much these factors will be reflected in the design of future cars decorated with Barcelona copper paint. It will not be easy at all to differentiate Cupra and Seat from each other even more, but we know from practice (Hyundai, Kia, Genesis) that such a successful division is not impossible.