Could the Cupra name lead to a serious dose of spicy Spanish hot hatchbacks?

Trademark filings have become quite the rage these days as one automaker after another has made filing applications for their own reasons. Turns out, you can add SEAT to that list because the Volkswagen-owned, Spanish automaker has filed trademark applications for a host of new names and logos, the gist of which appears to be plans for a performance sub-brand named Cupra.

The name “Cupra” itself isn’t new as it relates to SEAT. For one, it’s the same name SEAT has used in the past to denote performance variants of its lineup of models, as shown in recent years by the Leon Cupra and the Ibiza Cupra. Now it appears that the Spanish automaker has a much bigger purpose for the name if plans to turn it into its own sub-brand come to fruition. Adding meat to this notion are the subsequent trademarks that the company also filed, including names like Tango, Salsa, and Bolero. These names sound inconsequential on the surface, but a brief trek in the history of SEAT will reveal that the company has independently used these names before, mostly on concept vehicles that were released in the early part of the previous decade. It’s still a little too early to draw any conclusions from these trademarks and there’s likewise no guarantee that Seat will use them for the things we’re speculating on. Then again, the thought of a new hot hatch brand entering the market is too enthralling to pass up.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

A look at those trademarked names

SEAT isn’t as prominent a brand outside of Europe as it probably wants to, so a performance sub-brand like Cupra could go a long way in reestablishing the brand well past its traditional markets.

The big news here is SEAT trademarking the Cupra name for a different purpose than what it’s used it for recently. If this trademark application ever comes to fruition, a performance sub-brand is going to go a long way in reigniting interest in the Spanish brand. There’s no two ways about it. SEAT isn’t as prominent a brand outside of Europe as it probably wants to, so a performance sub-brand like Cupra could go a long way in reestablishing the brand well past its traditional markets.

Now as far as those other trademark applications go, these names have historical ties to SEAT, including Bolero, which happens to be the name used by Skoda’s infotainment systems. While there may be some complication in using the name, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle considering that both SEAT and Skoda are owned by the Volkswagen Group.

Now going back to the Bolero name. Before it became the name for Skoda’s infotainment system, one of its past incarnations was a concept vehicle SEAT introduced at the 1998 Geneva Motor Show. It was called the SEAT Bolero 330 BT and it arguably was one of the least enthralling concepts we’ve ever seen, thanks largely to the cross-eyed look it had. Still, it had 330 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque at its disposal back then, all thanks to a 2.8-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine under its hood. That kind of power would suit a sports car today well so it’s nice to see that SEAT had the moxie to showcase a sports car concept from 1998 with that much power.

2009 Seat Bolero
- image 230069
1998 Seat Bolero Concept

note: photo of the SEAT Bolero

Two years after introducing the Bolero Concept, SEAT followed that up by dropping the Salsa Concept at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show. It had a similar 2.8-liter V-6 engine that featured less power than the Bolero. Still, it was good enough to produce 250 ponies and 219 pound-feet of twist, good enough to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in around 7.5 seconds to go with a top speed of 152 mph.

Beyond its power and performance credentials, the Salsa Concept’s main purpose at the time was to showcase the company’s new design language, which eventually gave way to the second-generation Leon. It looked the part of an interesting concept 17 years ago and if you close your eyes and let your imaginations run wild for a second, you might even be able to convince yourselves that the Salsa Concept had design elements that look similar to the Bugatti Veyron. It’s a stretch, but really, get creative with your imagination, and you might realize that there’s some truth to it.

2002 Seat Salsa
- image 27678

note: photo of the SEAT Salsa

The last name SEAT applied for was the Tango, which arrived in 2001, a full year after the Salsa Concept was unveiled. The two concepts did share similarities of their own, namely the front end design. For the most part, though, the Tango was able to separate itself from its predecessor, most notably in the presentation of the concept as a two-seater roadster instead of the coupe layout that the Salsa had. It also featured a smaller 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produced 180 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque, good enough to get it off the line in over seven seconds before peaking at a top speed of 146 mph.

2001 Seat Tango
- image 27689
Seat Tango

Note: photo of the SEAT Tango


Seat Leon Cupra

2016 Seat Leon Cupra 290 High Resolution Exterior
- image 645624

Read our full review on the Seat Leon Cupra.

SEAT Bolero

2009 Seat Bolero
- image 230069
1998 Seat Bolero Concept

Read our full review on the SEAT Bolero.

SEAT Salsa

2002 Seat Salsa
- image 27679

Read our full review on the SEAT Salsa.

SEAT Tango

2001 Seat Tango
- image 27694

Read our full review on the SEAT Tango.

Source: European Union Intellectual Property Office

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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