Autocar confidential: Google Maps charging advantage, Kia’s saloon prediction and more

In this week’s round-up of automotive gossip, we hear about the importance of performance Golfs for Volkswagen, why the Cupra is proving critics wrong, tap Kia’s thoughts on the future of saloons and more.

Hot Golfs key for Volkswagen

How important are performance models to the Volkswagen Golf’s success? Well, according to the firm, the hot variants (the GTI, GTD, GTE and R) made up around 40% of sales of the Mk7 model in the UK. The GTD diesel was the most popular of those, but many buyers of the Mk8 Golf are expected to migrate from that to the GTE petrol-electric plug-in hybrid.

Cupra makes critics eat criticism

It hasn’t been around for long, but Cupra’s early sales success has proved its critics wrong, according to new CEO Wayne Griffiths. “At the time, there were a lot of people around who had their doubts,” he said at the launch of the new Cupra Leon. “We’ve sold 40,000 cars globally since launching the brand, with 25,000 of those in 2019. That’s 70% up on the year before.” In two years, Cupra has become Seat’s most profitable business unit.

Google Maps route to charging success

A key reason Volvo partnered with Google to create a new infotainment operating system was to ensure its electrified cars could offer Google Maps. Olivier Loedel, Volvo’s electrification business manager, said: “It’s not about range anxiety any more, it’s charging anxiety, and Google Maps gives detailed information on charging points.”

Kia’s saloon prophecy

There’s still a future for saloons, according to Kia UK boss Paul Philpott, despite sales of the Optima and all but the GT S version of the Stinger being stopped recently. Philpott said that if electrified models arrive that could help emissions targets be met, Kia would consider selling them here.