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Subaru Crew - Future Models II

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  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,674
    http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat- - - - _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=02276205

    The Baja is not connecting with the young buyers at whom it was aimed, Saito said at the launch here of the redesigned Legacy and Outback.

    Most people associate the Legacy and Outback as vehicles for a more mature audience, than that of say the Impreza audience. The same holds true for the Baja because it is an offshoot of the Outback. So maybe Subaru was wrong from the very beginning, basing this vehicle off the Outback? Perhaps the whole idea was doomed from the beginning, trying to target the younger audience with this vehicle?

    Most Baja buyers are over 40.

    What’s wrong with that? These are the folks with the $$$, not the young kids. The vehicle is perfect for folks who putter around the house, and gardeners.

    Saito said the cost to develop the Baja was low, but poor sales may not justify a new generation.

    There’s an old saying in the graphic design business that there’s never enough money to do it right the first time, but (when it fails) there’s always money to do it over. Yeah, Subaru did the Baja on the cheap, and now they’re paying for it.

    "Subaru has done a good job making it more affordable to young people by taking off features," says Dale Walker, former dealer council chairman and owner of Walker's Renton Subaru in Renton, Wash.
     
    I disagree. Less is not more in this case. Less is less…

    But he says young buyers tend to purchase trucks from other Japanese makes.

    Why? Because they offer features not available on the Baja, such as real utility and real off-road ability.
     
    The Japanese company decided to produce the Baja after a concept version received rave reviews at the 2000 Los Angeles auto show.

    Yeah but somewhere between *concept* and *production* the Baja lost most of what was appealing about the ST-X. There’s a lesson to be learned here (actually many lessons to be learned here).

    The Baja originally was priced at more than $24,000, and sold poorly from the start. Subaru tried to whip up demand in February 2003 by offering a $22,545 Baja Sport version without the standard leather interior and other features. In August it offered a $2,000 incentive on the original Baja and a $1,000 cash rebate on the Sport model. In a bid to lure younger buyers, the Baja Turbo was launched in December at $24,545, including destination. The Turbo has a 2.5-liter engine based on the powerplant in the popular Impreza as well as larger wheels and an upgraded audio system. The original Baja was dropped at the end of 2003. Subaru continues to offer customer cash incentives of up to $1,000 on the Sport and Turbo models.

    Too little, too late.

    Subaru will make more changes to the vehicle for the 2005 model year. "We are adding the things that were concerns - that it didn't have a locking hard cover in the back. There will be a locking hard cover available next year," says Rick Crosson, vice president of marketing.

    Again, too little, too late.
     
    Subaru is considering lowering the price again for the 2006 model year. Crosson says Subaru may remove some of the body cladding, "which will enable us to do that, but we aren't set on it." For 2006, Subaru is also thinking of changing the tailgate "to make it more user-friendly," says Crosson. He says the current design is "a bit cumbersome."

    Should have been that way from the get-go.
     
    The only thing Subaru isn't changing is the advertising. The Baja is "attracting gardeners vs. the young surfer crowd, but we still put it out there as youthful and sporty," says Crosson. "In marketing it is probably better to gear (advertising) to the youthful spirit than the nonyouthful."

    Sounds like they still don’t know what they’re doing, or who they’re targeting this vehicle for…

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You are entitled to feel the Hondah is not an appiance, but give me a stock '00 or stock '04 Legacy v. Accord on a damp backroad and you'll have way way more fun and feel in control with the subie. Take either to a track (stock to stock) and the subie will out handle, out corner and give a far superior feel for the enthusiast than the Accord will. As I've posted before, Accord/Camry are great for non-car people who see their car as "just a transportation device" kinda like me with a TV or Home Stereo. I'll take just about any of them from Circuit City/Best Buy and not notice a difference between Dolby 5.1 v. Plain old Stereo, etc. etc. However for a Home Theater Enthusiast, he'd look at me like I was crazy for not knowing or appreciating the difference.

    -mike
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    Paisan,

    From what I've read numerous times over the last few years, surveys indicate that less than five percent of SUVs ever get farther off-road than the local supermarket parking lot. So I'll presume that AWD sedans, such as those that we own, are probably off-road significantly less than even that miniscule percentage. If I have to do the rare drive "on a damp backroad", I have no problem in occasionally slowing down the five mph that would make me feel more in control. Sure, it's more fun to be on the cutting edge of control, but bodywork repairs cost money and raise insurance premiums.

    Even YOU will concede that we are not discussing autocross or track use of the two brands of sedans for which I've suggested price comparisons. I've done that to try to illustrate that there are other fine choices for the vast majority of buyers.

    Here's something from today's news:

    http://www.hwysafety.org/news_releases/2004/pr041804.htm

    They didn't test that many vehicles, but note which two came out on top in the side-impact tests:

    http://www.hwysafety.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/summary_midinexp- .htm
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Nobody is denying that the Camcord are safe vehicles. In fact, as far as appliances go, they are very safe :-) It's just that they aren't viewed as driver's cars. Of course if you want to talk about safety, from the same site:

    http://www.hwysafety.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/summary_smsuv_cu- - - rrent.htm

    Notice which make is on top and then look where Toyota is ;-)

    -Frank P.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Like I said, it's not for the people who don't know the difference between a spark plug and a drain plug. I enjoy driving just for driving as do most "car enthusiasts" therefore whenever we drive we want to have the feeling of control, handling etc. That's why I'd choose an old subie over a brand-new Honda/Camry. See my example above of the Home Theater Enthusiast v. "average" TV owner. Same thing is the case here "enthusiast driver" v. "average" driver.

    I have several relatives that I suggest to get Honda/Camry since they buy the car, drive it to work and home and wouldn't know the difference nor appreciate it...

    -mike
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    Frank,

    I've no argument that the Impreza-platform Forester did extremely well in crash testing.

    My concerns are with the Legacy platform versus its competition.

    I believe that if you speak with the vast majority of Subaru owners, not necessarily the enthusiasts on this board, you will find that they do not view their vehicles as any more "driver's cars" as do owners of Accord Coupes.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They may be subliminally attracted to it for it's driving feel... That deep down race-car driver feeling we all have in us! ;)

    I guess then though by your judgement, all subie owners should have Accords/Camrys since they are superior? Just not sure what you are getting at here is all....

    -mike
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    Paisan,

    I consider myself an "enthusiast" too. That's one reason that I own the V6 Coupe with all the goodies. It's also the reason that I own the GT Limited.

    However, even though we've never met, I'll guarantee that at least 85% of your own driving is also "drive it to work and home".
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Whoa! I'll take that bet! Even though I've never met Mike either I know better than to make a statement like that ;-)

    -Frank P.
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,924
    Not trying to tell you what to do but obviously even though this guy owns an 04 GT he has blinkers as regards his Accord.

    A lot of times When a guy defends something this hard it is more to justify his purchase to himself than to anybody else.

      Cheers Pat.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Until this year 95% of my driving (40K+ miles a year) was non-to-from work scenarios. Living in NYC when I worked days I would catch the bus/train near my house and only drove for "pleasure". Now I work 3pm-11pm in downtown manhattan, so I practice my driving skills to and from work daily. I will probably log over 50K miles this year.

    Even though I may have to drive to/from work, being an enthusiasts I make the most out of every trip in my car, as those on here that know me, every road is practice for the track just at lower speeds. :)

    -mike
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    Too much traffic on Staten Island for much more than that.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Yeah Pat, I was thinking along the same lines. We're just going around in circles here. I posted what, about 30 posts ago, to just agree to disagree and here we're still at it. It's time to move on.

    -Frank P.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Did some mods to the Legacy this weekend and ready to put the turbo on the L... Oh this is future models....

    Hmmm not sure what to say on future models...

    -mike
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,674
    time to move this discussion to the Cafe.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Last word on this, promise.

    Look up the last test drive of the Accord V6 sedan in C&D. In the same issue they had a test of near-luxury sedans.

    Impressively, the 0-60 for the Accord beat out all the more expensive cars. A great feat, and many customers don't look beyond that number.

    But if and when you do, you'll notice the braking and lateral grip numbers were below the worst of the near-luxury cars in that test.

    Now I'll admit, everyone wants a peppy car, but how about some balance?

    The Legacy just might have it all. That's the issue. Maybe 95% of drivers won't notice, but this is a car for the other 5%.

    -juice
  • atlgaxtatlgaxt Posts: 487
    Since we are talking future models, the 2005 Legacy / Outback will have side airbags and side curtain airbags standard. A while back on one of the boards there was a link saying that the Australian government said that the new 2005 Legacy / Outback was the safest car they had ever tested, based upon a battery of different tests (some very similar to the IIHS) and a total score from all of the tests.

    If you don't need AWD don't pay for it. But for someone who wants a wagon and wants AWD, I think the new Legacy and Outback are priced very competitively across various equipment and HP levels.
  • njswamplandsnjswamplands Posts: 1,760
    u a last word promise, lol.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No more, really.

    And...

    <swampy puts his virtual hands over juice's mouth>

    MMMMPH!

    -juice
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    Juice:

    I promise that this is my last post on the subject, but I feel that I should address your post #13993 regarding lateral grip, etc. and Mike's and Pat's concerns about "enthusiast" cars (meaning, as I believe we all understand the term, those that "handle" extremely well, particularly at speed).

    As a preface, I've said several times that I loved my 1996 Legacy GT and I love my 2002 Legacy GT Limited (both 4 door sedans). However, I'm not blinded by faith in my enthusiasm for the brand, technology or model. I try to keep an open mind to other concepts.

    The following are three exerpts from the January 2003 Consumer Reports comparo of the Subaru Legacy L Special Edition 2.5 liter four sedan/Honda Accord EX 2.4 liter four sedan/Saturn L200 2.2 liter four sedan (all automatics). Consumer Reports tests all vehicles on their Connecticut track. I'll note right here that the Legacy was not the GT model with somewhat better suspension/handling goodies

    "The Legacy delivers a supple ride and handles with the agility of a European sports sedan, but it is not as forgiving at its handling limits."

    "All-wheel drive is an advantage in slippery conditions, but takes its toll on acceleration and fuel economy."

    "The steering is quick and precise, and the car handles twisty roads well. But when pushed beyond its handling limits, the tail tended to slide out abruptly. Though controllable, that made it a challenge to get through our avoidance maneuver."

    While the preliminary data indicates that the 2005 Legacy line will be a great leap forward, only time will tell. Right now, the pricing that we've seen indicates that a loaded GT (the way I'd probably buy one) will be priced too high for a Subaru in today's crowded AWD sedan market. When I'm again in the market for a new AWD vehicle for my wife, Subaru will no doubt be at the top of the list to consider.

    That's it. I'm done with the subject too. Let's move on.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    And if you go by Consumer Reports who are notorious for being non-car enthusiasts, for your reports, then by all means believe their writeups. I think you are just upset cause we said the Camry/Accords are "appliance cars" rather than driver's cars...

    -mike
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I promised to drop the subject ;-)

    -Frank P.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Unfortunately, some Subaru owners have blinds on so you picked a tough place to make a valid point. Personally, I don't think the Accord is any more an appliance than the Legacy. I'd have to say the mainstream auto press might actually throw the Legacy further into the appliance category than the Accord. However, I think that will change when the 05 Legacy gets some press time. SO, let's all keep an open mind.

    Craig
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,674
    Craig, I agree with you. However, lets continue this Accord/Camry/Legacy discussion over in the cafe area, where it belongs. :)

    Bob
  • sweet_subiesweet_subie Posts: 1,394
    oh boy, everywhere 2004s are priced to grab .....OBs for less than 18k ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Now we've switched back to handling dynamics of Subies, which applies to Future Models. So we've come full circle and we're now back on topic.

    not as forgiving at its handling limits

    Anyone else read that as "fun"? It means you can wag the tail. CR is looking for a safe car that is devoid of excitement, which is fine for them, not me.

    takes its toll on acceleration

    The turbo has enough excess efficiency to overcome that extra drag. Would you apply that phrase to the Forester XT?

    Keep in mind you're comparing a used 2002 Subie to a brand new car in the honeymoon stage of new car ownership. Not to mention it's the new generation vs. an older generation Subie.

    It would be interesting if your wife indeed bought a 2005 Legacy GT, and then we heard your opinion a year from now. You might be saying all the same things about your used Accord.

    -juice
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    Muffle, muffle, muffle
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    some people like strawberry ice cream and some like chocolate, and some can't even tell the difference, everyone to their own tastes when it comes to cars!
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