Volkswagen’s EV Push Includes a Few Unexpected Brand Names

Scout and Cupra EVs are part of the automaker's strategy

Cupra Formentor
Volkswagen is bringing the Cupra Formentor to the United States

Volkswagen has had a foothold in the American auto market for more than half a century, but the automaker’s share of the zeitgeist has waxed and waned since then. As Jack Ewing observed in The New York Times last month, VW had a certain hip cachet in the 1960s. In the 1990s, the automaker’s “Fahrvergnügen” ad campaign gave many English speakers a quick overview of the wonders of the German language. More recently, Volkswagen has been promoting its electric vehicles as a way to win back the hearts of drivers in the United States — though eligibility for federal tax credits surely doesn’t hurt.

One of the more interesting ways Volkswagen is going about this is via a number of vehicles that aren’t actually branded as Volkswagens. That includes the announcement earlier this month that VW is reviving Scout as its own distinct brand with an eye towards selling electric SUVs — but it’s not alone. At Autoblog, Chris Teague reports that drivers in the United States may start to see Cupra vehicles for sale later in the 2020s.

At least, some U.S. drivers will have the option to purchase Cupra vehicles — including the magnificently-named Formentor, an electric crossover. “Cupra will be launched in selected states where we assure we can find customers that are linked to the Cupra brand and respond to the Cupra brand, mainly in the East and West Coast and Sun Belt states,” CEO Wayne Griffiths told members of the press.

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Cupra is a Spanish company with factories in Mexico, and the Formentor has been in the works for a while — a concept version debuted in 2015, and the European version made its formal debut in 2020. Autoblog reports that the Formentor will be one of two models available for sale in the United States, along with a more traditional SUV. The article also notes that Cupra will use “a new distribution model” to sell these vehicles.

Given the EPA’s revised guidelines for emissions, the arrival of Cupra’s EVs in the U.S. market seems timely indeed — though how domestic car buyers will respond to VW’s multi-pronged approach remains unclear.

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