What Does Subaru Know That Others Don't?

1235714

Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Oh yeah?

    My 2009 model can do my taxes! ;)

    Well, the sales tax I paid is deductible. :D
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    43k miles on my Impreza, 22k on the wifes Outback.

    Love'em :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I suppose it's also an honor student?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    I figure that as a proportion of the total vehicles sold, Subaru had one of the highest percentages of vehicles that made at least the 22 mpg target figure to qualify for C4C, out of all automakers.

    How do you figure that? I would think that Hyundai/Kia, with its lineup of mostly cars, including fuel-sippers like the Accent/Rio, Elantra, Forte, Sonata, and Optima, would have done better than Subaru on that score.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Yeah, looking back on that, I'm not sure why I wrote that. All the Asian automakers with a large proportion of 4-cylinder models would beat Subaru in qualifying for C4C.

    Yet Subaru seemed to benefit a lot more from it than anyone else except Hyundai. It's hard to pinpoint why this pair is prospering so well this year when everyone else, big and small, is taking it on the chin.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    One reason could be that Subaru offers some of the best crossover SUVs, at pretty reasonable prices, so people dumping their Explorers (I heard that was one of the most commonly traded vehicles in C4C) might turn to Subaru. But Ford did preety well too, so at least some of those Explorers were traded for a Focus, Fusion, Escape etc.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Bingo, people downsizing would feel right at home in a Forester, so everyone in America bought one last month, basically. :D
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Falling supply will slow Subaru's hot sales

    September 14, 2009 - 12:01 am ET

    Subaru of America's strong sales momentum amid a collapsing overall market will slow dramatically this month because of the brand's shrinking vehicle stocks.

    September will be flat because July and August sales dried up Subaru's already lean inventory, said Tom Doll, COO of Subaru of America.

    Subaru had 18,000 vehicles on the ground on Sept. 1, a 16-day supply. That was down from 26,600 units Aug. 1, a 32-day supply.

    On Feb. 1, the brand had 41,700 vehicles on hand, an 89-day supply.

    Subaru's factory in Lafayette, Ind., is working an extra Saturday shift to pump out more vehicles for the brand's 603 dealers.

    Extra vehicles are also coming from Japan, but it will take several months to bring inventory to the optimal 60- to 65-day range, Doll said.

    "If you count the supply in the pipeline, cars that are on their way, it is probably about a 40-day supply," he said. "That's the lowest point we've had since the late 1980s."

    Through August, Subaru sales were up 11.2 percent in a market down 27.9 percent.

    ...... (Doll) said Subaru is doing well here because it has new product and has stayed focused on selling awd cars and crossovers.

    "The fact that we are a niche player and no one can touch us with awd at the prices we have gives us distinction in the market," he said. "We are not trying to appeal to everyone."


    http://www.autonews.com/article/20090914/ANA06/309149943/1197

    This may be the year Soob sets its new all-time annual sales record, which would be pretty ironic in the worst economy since the depression of the 30s......

    It's too bad they can't crank up the Japanese production more quickly. Forester and Impreza sales will suffer temporarily.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    A 16 day supply is nothing, that basically means they are sold out of all the popular models and colors. Wow.

    They'll catch up again in a couple of months, though.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Yes, but they will probably be able to crank up Outback production more quickly than that, and that's "local".

    I wonder how the new Outback is selling. Now that I have seen one on the road, it looks huge, and I wonder if it hasn't grown too much.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Too soon to tell.

    Outback used to outsell the Forester, though, and right now the Forester is well ahead. I doubt that'll change.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,470
    Our subaru dealership had something like nine new cars on the lot at the start of this month. That is less then a weeks supply for them. Right now they have 30 new cars in stock but five or six are loaners so they really have about 25 cars to sell right this minute. That is less then two weeks supply for them.
  • aaykayaaykay Member Posts: 539
    Yes, but they will probably be able to crank up Outback production more quickly than that, and that's "local".

    Yeah, but cranking up production cannot be done at the drop of a hat. Every single Subaru engine and every single Subaru transmission and several of the key components in the US assembled models, come from Japan (via ship).

    In addition to that, there are a bunch of suppliers who supply parts to automakers, who in turn have cut down their production forecasts (which in turn are directly tied to Subaru's own production forecasts) and have adjusted their capacities (employees, production facilities etc) downward, accordingly.

    So to crank it back up, it will take a while to bring back those (furloughed) people into the rolls and get all the raw materials needed to start back up and resume pushing out component parts to the automakers.

    Bottomline, increasing production will only happen in several months and not happen in days or weeks. There are a chain of events at several manufacturers that will need to take place, before these cars roll off the assembly lines.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Wow...worse than I thought.

    Some are saying Sept will be the slowest month in 28 years so they may recover soon.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    October 12, 2009 - 12:01 am ET

    TOKYO -- Subaru is shrugging off the American auto meltdown with a prediction of two straight years of record U.S. sales. But to stay competitive in the long run, Subaru's lineup needs hybrids and other green technology, says the automaker's global brand president.

    U.S. sales this year will top the brand's record of 200,703 set in 2006 and will rise again next year, said Ikuo Mori, president of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., which makes Subaru vehicles.

    ...."We can expect a sales record this year," Mori said last week in an interview. "The new Legacy and Outback haven't even contributed a half year of sales. Next year we can expect a full-year contribution, and that will likely lead to another all-time record."

    ......"Looking at long-range emissions regulations, ... it's very difficult to achieve that target with the current gasoline engines. We need a hybrid system," Mori said. "Our task is how to integrate green-car technology with distinctive Subaru performance."

    Subaru will use Toyota's hybrid system, but the brand lacks a platform that can accommodate it, Mori said. Thus, the first hybrid likely will be timed with a full model change.

    The company has said it wants to launch a hybrid early next decade.

    Subaru engineers are considering a hybrid system teamed with Subaru's all-wheel-drive layout.


    http://www.autonews.com/article/20091012/ANA03/310129987/1117

    Does this mean plans to bring the diesel to the States are dead? Is it still coming? They ought to do both, since they have spent so much effort working on the diesel already, and the hybrid system they can borrow from their partners at Toyota.

    In the meantime it's nice for Soob to be one of only three (including Kia and Hyundai) up in sales this year, in such a lousy auto sales environment. :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Do you have a subscription to AN? I'm registered at their site, but I still can't see the article.

    Toyota will probably lend much of its HSD technology to Subaru, but I hope they'll use boxer engines, at least.

    So far the concepts have shown boxer-electrics, and that's the way it ought to be.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    A reporter would like to speak with drivers whose families have had a lot of automotive brand loyalty. Has it faded over the years? Please send a few sentences on this to [email protected] no later than Friday, October 16, 2009 if you care to be interviewed on the subject.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Nope, no subscription. Secret trick: if you can see the headlines at AN, copy the full headline of the article that you want to access, then google it. The resulting search will give you a link to the full text of the article, even if it is a subscriber article.

    And now that it's in print, they will probably have that back door shut down within a week! :-P

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Weird - so it actually blocks me because I'm registered. I wonder if non-registered folks can see your link?

    If so I'll delete my cookies.

    It prompts me to subscribe. :sick:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Subaru is up 13% for the 10 months ending October 31st. The best any of the Big 6 could do was DOWN 21% for the year (Ford, believe it or not).

    And yes, for those of you who were wondering, they are the highest achievers on the charts (except for Tata, which a year ago did not include Jaguar and Land Rover, sort of a false statistic), and the only one in positive territory except for Hyundai.

    Not bad, not bad... :-) :-)

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20091103/ANA02/911039985/1197

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Not sure what you mean by "Big 6"... but Hyundai/Kia is the world's fifth largest automaker.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Thank you for the clarification backy! I was actually referring to North American sales, not global sales. The Big 6 in North American sales are still Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, I believe. But certainly Hyundai is about to upset that apple cart too with its strong surge this year.

    And then there's little ol' Soob, doing better than all the giants! :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Subaru is on a roll.

    I hope they remain motivated to continue improving their products.

    Please do not get complacent!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Yes, Chrysler was at 65k units in October and dropping, and Hyundai/Kia at 53k units and climbing.

    Subaru's performance is very imprezzive, but we know it's easier for a company with relatively low sales volume to post big percentage sales gains vs. the giants. Although Mitsu and Suzuki aren't finding that to be so easy. :sick:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Subaru's performance is very imprezzive

    The sales performance of the NEW impreza has been ESPECIALLY imprezzive! :D

    Mitsu and Suzuki aren't going to make it in the U.S. in the long run, mark my words. I hope Subaru will, and as an independent company rather than a subsidiary (hear that Toyota??!!).

    Had a coworker in my office just this morning who has noticed the new Outback and will be test driving one shortly. I guess the upsize with the "big tires" caught his eye.

    As for becoming complacent, Subaru has had a corporate sales goal of exceeding 200K annual sales for what, about 8 years now at least?! If they finally get above that number this year, it will be an awful long time in coming, and as much as increased sales are something to celebrate in this economy, they need to strive to actually INCREASE sales from the mid-90s. Maybe set 225K as the next goal, a year or two out. They will need an additional model or a complete Tribeca redo to achieve that, maybe both.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    How are sales for those other two brands?
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    I've read that the Tribeca won't make it past the current model and that the new Outback is essentially its replacement.

    Anyways, the new Outback has been pretty successful around here, I see them alot now. When they first came out in pictures I was not a fan of the size, the looks or that rugged lower cladding but now that I've seen more of them I've grown to like the looks a bit more. I was also very disappointed that they eliminated the panoramic roof which was a big selling point for our 08' LLB but apparently that was a government mandated omission. :sick:

    Everything I've read says the new 3.6 is a fantastic engine and I really like the interior improvements so I'll definitely keep the new model on my list when it comes time to upgrade my little Impreza which is built like a tank and feels like it will run forever. :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Early reliability number look good, also. CR rates them above average.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Mitsu is down 47% for the year, and this despite the recent revamp of the Lancer including the new Evo last year. Suzuki is down 55% for the year.

    Neither is long for the North American market, IMO.

    Mazda is down 24% this year, about the same as the overall market, and I think they will be sticking around for a while. But Subaru is certainly a standout among all brands, and even among Asian brands (certainly among Japanese brands).

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You gotta wonder if those two will make it?
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Been seeing more of the new Outbacks and Legacies. I REALLY like them. I've liked Subarus for a long time without ever actually owning one (but coming VERY close before). I'm really beginning to want one. Must hold out for one more year on the Accord....
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Caught this blurb in an article about overall November sales industrywide:

    The Japanese brand (Subaru) already has outsold its total for all of last year.

    Today Subaru predicted it would set a U.S. sales record this year, beating the 200,703 vehicles sold of 2006. In November Subaru benefited from its Legacy sedan, whose sales soared 83 percent, and Outback wagon, which shot up 142 percent.


    http://www.autonews.com/article/20091201/RETAIL/311309908/1078
    (registration link?)

    Outbacks up 142%? Could 2010 be another record-breaking year for Subaru? :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    I don't think the parent company, Fuji Heavy, is doing quite as well overall unfortunately. The low dollar/high yen is killing them I think. Nice to see Subie doing so well in the US though. Some friends are in town for a couple of days and I got to drive their '97 5 speed today. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Outback actually outsold the Forester, which is also doing amazingly well.

    Sibling rivalry?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    With Subaru's underutilized North American plant in Indiana, and Fuji Heavy's ongoing financial troubles, we may yet see Toyota take more of a financial stake in Subaru in the next year. And I suppose Subaru could do worse if it has to have a corporate parent, as Toyota is fairly hands-off (unlike GM).

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Outback sales were up 142% last month, so Subaru may use up whatever capacity is has left to catch up on the supply side.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Well that depends on being able to staff it up too, and I don't know how quickly they could do that or if they have the money to do so.

    That plant was only at like 60% last time I was reading up on it. They could handle building 100K RAV4s per year so that Toyota didn't have to import them from Japan, for instance.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • robr2robr2 BostonMember Posts: 8,863
    Outback sales were up 142% last month, so Subaru may use up whatever capacity is has left to catch up on the supply side.

    But how low were sales of the Outback in the month they were comparing? Nov 2008 wasn't joy joy in the auto industry.
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,435
    That plant was only at like 60% last time I was reading up on it.

    Was that before they started building Camrys? On the other hand, it might be a good place to seat some Corolla production now that NUMMI is out of the picture.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    True, but neither was Nov 2009. ;)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Oh yes, forgot that, it was before they started building Camrys there. I guess they won't have a problem with excess capacity there, between the Camrys and the additional Outbacks that will be needed.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • robr2robr2 BostonMember Posts: 8,863
    True, but neither was Nov 2009.

    But Nov 2009 the economy was in better shape and it was a new model. I just like to see the numbers.

    Remember, I'm in marketing - I can spin numbers to look good too!! :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Perhaps how to build a great crossover?! ;-)

    The Buick LaCrosse, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Volkswagen Golf are the three finalists for the 2010 North American Car of the Year award.

    Finalists for the companion North American Truck of the Year award are the Chevrolet Equinox, the Ford Transit Connect and the Subaru Outback


    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20091216/DETROIT/912169995

    Although I have to say, as much as I root for Subaru usually, I kinda hope the Transit Connect gets the award, because it's such an innovative vehicle to bring to the U.S. (and it's the only real truck of the 3)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Bob said the same thing. The Transit Connect is the only true Truck of the 3.

    I am going to guess that the Equinox will win, though, for its two Direct Injection engines.
  • robr2robr2 BostonMember Posts: 8,863
    Have to chuckle on the Transit. Quirky little vanlet is doing pretty good. In fact, Fiat has announced the Doblo is coming over as a Ram.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Those are common in Brazil. WEIRD looking, but common.

    Funny thing is the Doblo caught on with executive bankers, so you see all these guys in really nice, tailored suits driving around in this beast:

    image
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,465
    So in other words, they are getaway vehicles for thieves? ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    ...with LOTS of room for bags o' money. :D
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    on Soob at AN this week. Among the highlights:

    How Subaru defies the recession
    U.S. executives rejected a move upmarket -- and listened to their dealers


    While the rest of the industry cratered, the little Japanese brand has racked up big U.S. sales gains.

    So how did Subaru beat the odds for two years running?

    Credit a decision four years ago by U.S. bosses to dump a strategy, dictated by executives in Japan, to go upmarket.

    Since 2006, Subaru has cut prices, shed its quirky styling and refocused the marketing strategy on the safety and practical virtues of its five vehicles. And it has let dealers weigh in on important product decisions.

    Those and other moves helped make Subaru the best-performing brand in 2009 -- up 14 percent in a market down 24 percent. The brand has jumped from the 19th-largest U.S. seller in 2008 to the 11th, ahead of Volkswagen and within striking distance of Jeep.

    ....Subaru will finish the year with sales of about 215,000 vehicles, says COO Tom Doll. In a dreadful 2009, only two other brands, Kia and Hyundai, managed sales increases over 2008. And in 2008, only Subaru and Mini were up.

    .....Subaru's success is the real retail deal. Only 6 percent of sales this year have been to fleets, says Doll, well below Kia's 28 percent and Hyundai's nearly 20 percent.

    Incentive spending is also low -- about $990 per vehicle, compared with $2,694 on average for the industry, say company executives, citing Autodata Corp. statistics.

    .....In a depressed market, Subaru has added 10 dealers this year for a total of 610. Most of the new dealers are in the Sun Belt, where the brand wants to increase sales. Subaru's biggest markets are Denver, Seattle and the Northeast, places where winter warrants all-wheel drive.

    Colbeck says Subaru's success has attracted top-notch retailers, too. Twenty-five percent of Subaru dealers are new since 2006, the result of terminations, closures or retirements. They replaced what Colbeck calls "our less committed dealers."

    About 90 percent of the brand's dealers are profitable. And those prosperous dealers gave Subaru the second-highest brand rating in the last two dealer attitude surveys, conducted in the past year by NADA. Only Lexus did better.

    .....All five of Subaru's vehicles have a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for front-impact, rollover and side-impact crash tests. Those accolades are being used heavily in advertising.

    And Subaru's residuals are soaring. The brand won Automotive Lease Guide's "best mainstream brand" award for the 2010 model year. Thirty-six-month residuals have improved to more than 50 percent for each model in the lineup, according to ALG.


    It's a real nice article, chock-full of interesting facts about Subaru for all you Subaru fans out there. There is of course still one big hang-up:

    Kerri Wise, director of automotive research at Power, says Subaru is one of the most avoided brands. Wise says about 8 percent of the buyers surveyed in its Avoider study, released last week, considered a Subaru, while the average brand attracts about 16 percent.

    Which of course is a known obstacle for Subaru that never really seems to go away. I think its best-known period was during the days when Crocodile Dundee was doing TV spots for the Outback, and that is dismissed now as being "out" in this write-up, as if celebrity spots are all wrong for a brand like Subaru. I dunno - it is more like they need the RIGHT celebrities to appear for them. Croc Dundee was the perfect spokesman for the Outback, just like that British guy seemed right for Infiniti back in the 90s.

    But I'm SO GLAD that they decided to dump that misguided "move upmarket". Take a gander at the article, it really is very impressive what Subaru has accomplished with sales in the last two years given this atrocious sales environment. And while many laud Hyundai's achievements in the same timeframe, it is not a coincidence that Hyundai sells 1 in 5 vehicles to fleets, and Kia does so with almost one in THREE.

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091221/RETAIL03/312219959/1- - 018#

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    says Subaru is one of the most avoided brands

    If anyone's avoiding Subaru, maybe it's because of the perception that AWD hurts the MPG. Some may have avoided the brand because of Martina, but Dundee? If they brought him back, sales would probably blip up another notch (especially he could run over a few talking geckos....). I missed all the Lance ads.

    Good summary, and there's also this tidbit:

    "The only negative perception is the styling," says Wise.

    The new Forester and restyled Outback addressed that issue nicely, judging by the sales numbers.
Sign In or Register to comment.