What’s Spanish for 'meltdown'? That's what Seat chairman Thomas Schäfer caused at the Munich motor show last September when asked about the long-questioned future of the country's national car maker. 

In a roundtable interview at which Autocar was present and reported his comments from first, Schäfer said “the future of Seat is Cupra”; investments would go to Cupra and Seat would get a “new role” that would be rooted more in different kinds of e-mobility.

An Australian journalist interviewed Seat and Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths later that same day, and when the stories were put to him, he said the quotes had been “misunderstood”.

Schäfer himself wrote on LinkedIn something of a love letter to Seat later that week, which began: “Despite inaccurate reports in some media, the Seat brand is stronger than ever”.

Yours truly felt a bit perplexed by the whole situation, as nobody who was in that room felt the original points had been misunderstood or were reported inaccurately. 

Nine months later, I at last got a chance to sit down myself with Griffiths for a varied and in-depth interview, which I’m pleased to say did at last clear everything up, as he was unambiguous about the Seat brand's future.

There are no new Seat models currently in the pipeline, only Cupras, which are simply more profitable. Seat’s time will come again when electric cars can be sold profitably at the €20,000 mark as an entry-level brand, but that’s not happening any time soon. 

The original quotes undoubtedly created great interest in Spain, and they still get referenced now. Griffiths revealed that even the king of Spain, whose first car was a Seat Ibiza, recently asked him to clarify and reassure him that the brand wasn’t going anywhere. 

"There is room for both brands, and one doesn't exclude the other," he said. "Sometimes you have to make priorities. The discussion is now over for most people. I think certainly it is in Spain."

The question over Seat detracts from what should be a positive story around Cupra, although outside of Spain there is some confusion about the fact that 'Seat' not only refers to the Seat brand but also to a group containing the Seat and Cupra brands - and all the manufacturing and R&D facilities, which have been subject to recent €10 billion investments from parent company the Volkswagen Group.