The Cupra Tavascan is to be produced in China and exported to European markets, including the UK, starting in 2024.
The new SUV-coupé, unveiled in near-production-ready guise at a Cupra brand presentation in June, is planned to become the firm's second dedicated electric car, following the Cupra Born hatchback launched in 2020.
The sister model to the Volkswagen ID 5 and Skoda Enyaq iV is also set to be the first electric model from Cupra's parent company, the Volkswagen Group, to be produced in China for export to other markets.
Details remain scarce ahead of official confirmation of the move, but sources have revealed to Autocar that the Tavascan will hail from the Volkswagen Group’s new factory operated by a joint venture with Chinese car maker JAC in Anhui, China.
Presently in the final stages of construction, the new Volkswagen (Anhui) Automotive Company site is planned to begin pilot production of the new Cupra EV in the second half of 2023, with exports to Europe set to begin by mid-2024.
The new factory, in which the Volkswagen Group holds a 75% stake, is expected to become an important production hub for MEB-based EVs following investments estimated at over €3 billion (£2.5bn) since the Volkswagen Group and JAC joined forces in 2020.
Along with the joint production activities, the Volkswagen Group and JAC have established an R&D centre for MEB-based models on the site of their Anhui factory.
This is claimed to be involved in the development of the MEB-Small, an entry-level version of the Volkswagen Group’s EV platform earmarked to underpin a range of models from the Cupra, Skoda and Volkswagen brands.
The Volkswagen Group also operates separate joint ventures based around MEB-based models, including the Volkswagen ID 4 and Volkswagen ID 6, with Chinese-state-owned car makers FAW and SAIC.
The decision to build the Tavascan in China comes after the Volkswagen Group announced a €7bn (£6bn) investment in Cupra’s Spanish operation, which is planned to begin production of MEB-based models in 2026.
News of the move to export to the Tavascan from China for sale in Europe come after Volkswagen Group chairman Oliver Blume approved plans to extend the life of the MEB platform with new battery technology among other changes. This was part of a reported €1.5bn investment for the platform, which was originally earmarked to be replaced by the SSP platform during the latter half of the decade.
Other Chinese-produced EVs already on sale in Europe include the BMW iX3, Dacia Spring (not available in the UK), Polestar 2, Smart #1, Ora Funky Cat, Tesla Model 3, and a range of MGs.