What Does Subaru Know That Others Don't?

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  • robr2robr2 BostonMember Posts: 8,863
    AFAIK, the wheelbase difference doesn't affect manufacturing much.

    IIRC, the more important factors when building multiple models on one line are the attachment points for the automated equipment and the rake of the windshield. Those have to be fixed points and pretty much everything else can vary.

    They could build Justies and Tribecas on the same line as long as those things were constant.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    IMO the wheelbase is the one thing they could keep the same (as indeed they pretty much have, a measly 1/4" notwithstanding). It needs to be lower to look more streamlined. For starters. The sedan looks like it was intentionally made to appear "rugged", I can't quite put my finger on why it comes across that way. Rugged is good for the Outback, bad for the Legacy sport sedan. It needs more of its own sheetmetal.

    And I know it has been lamented here before, but it sure would be nice to have the non-Outback wagon back.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I agree, but it's hard to argue with sales.

    If you told that to product planners they'd point to sales of the last gen Legacy being about half what they are now.

    I loved the 2005 when it came out, but the consensus was it was BORING and looked too much like the Camry. I disagreed then and still now, vocally, but that's what people said.

    The 2010 is a lot bolder, but buyers love it. Think about it - the engines didn't get big upgrades, just more interior space and the new styling. Those 2 things doubled sales.
  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Member Posts: 124
    These cars are already different in the buyers' minds. The recent sales records prove this.

    Also, Subaru doesn't need to have a 'Camry fighter'. When they tried to compete with FWD only Legacys, they flopped.

    So, Subie knows what they are doing, compared to Toyota turning into boring car company.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    edited July 2010
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    edited July 2010
    Market was up 14%, so they gained market share.

    Forester outsold Outback, but probably only because they can't build Outbacks quickly enough.
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    There is apparently a LOT! of cross-shopping between the Forester and Outback; so much so that Subaru is somewhat concerned (so I've heard).

    If they make the Outback a 3-row seat vehicle (and drop the Tribeca), that should solve that problem.

    Bob
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    More importantly, did you see that 6-month total? 125K cars! If they can keep it up, they will hit 250K for the year, a sales total which will absolutely CREAM all U.S. sales records for Soob and which no-one in their wildest dreams would have imagined for them as recently as two short years ago.

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    edited July 2010
    Subaru seeks to dump 'quirky,' broaden appeal

    Automotive News -- July 12, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

    TOKYO -- When Subaru arrived in the United States in the 1960s, ads used the unflattering slogan "cheap and ugly."

    The brand has come a long way. But to critics, the concept of "Subaru styling" is still an oxymoron. Even loyalists describe it as "quirky"; the less charitable choose "bland" and "boxy."

    Subaru is one of the few brands that have been unscathed, even growing stronger, during the U.S. recession -- and now it wants to build on its success. The company finally is getting serious about design, its Achilles' heel, and is turning to an outsider as the new point man.

    Osamu Namba joined Subaru in 2008, hired from an independent styling studio he had founded a decade earlier. His mission is to unify the Subaru look across models and win new fans.

    ......Subaru bets existing fans will stay true.


    I don't know about other Subaru fans, but I buy them because they are quirky and unique. I guess it couldn't hurt for them to look better, but every time they try to improve the look, their attempts bomb. Will this guy be any better? His first project will be the next-gen Impreza. Remember the THREE looks (all bad) of the last-gen Impreza?? The only reason I finally bought a new one last year was that they improved from "bizarre" to "acceptable" with the redesigned '08.

    One of the new guy's all-time faves is the Le Car??!!


    "We have to show the function through design with simple, clean lines," says Namba, who counts the compact, no-frills Renault 5 -- remembered in the United States as American Motors' Le Car -- among his all-time favorite rides. "I want a very simple design that exhibits strength."

    ......Namba's creations for Subaru have yet to hit the street. But his Hybrid Tourer Concept, designed for the 2009 Tokyo motor show, foreshadows the clean lines and bold look he is seeking.

    ........ He wants to keep Subaru's utilitarian spirit and functional packaging but add a more modernistic flair. Namba says he will be striving for:

    -- A stronger overall presence for the cars.

    -- More pronounced, sculpted front fascia.

    -- Broader, more defined bumpers.

    -- A stronger side accent line, positioned lower on the body.


    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100712/OEM03/307129951/1117- -

    Good luck to him. I think it's a mistake to try for one family look among all vehicles when you sell both large crossovers like the Outback and smaller cars like the Impreza and the upcoming coupe. Toyota and GM have tried it with terrible results. Plus, in an age where so much of design is determined by computers (for the aerodynamic advantages), it is darn near impossible to make a car stand out stylistically in a good way. The companies that try always seem to end up with cars that look overwrought, which is kind of what it sounds like Namba wants to do with his "more ronounced sculpted front fascia".

    I just hope whatever he does won't HURT sales. That would just be too bad after the gains Subaru has made in recent times.....

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I just hope he doesn't try too hard.

    Subaru buyers are counter-culture so it's hard to apply best practices and expect them to work on loyal Subaru customers.
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    edited July 2010
    I disagree. I think having a family look is very important for any carmaker. Look at BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, VW, Chevy, Cadillac, Buick; all of which have their own family look, yet each model is separate and distinct. I'm sure that's what he will be trying for; a cohesive look that states the Subaru brand, and that can be built upon for future models.

    The bigger question is will it be visually appealing? That's where Subaru has struggled in the past.

    Bob
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    "Subaru FT-86 to Boast as Much as 260-Horsepower:"

    Unfortunately the more hard-core Subaru version will cost more as well, lifting it out of the realm of being an entry-level sports car, with pricing not likely to dip below the $25,000 mark.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Nowadays even a Mustang GT starts in the low 30s, right?

    It would be nice to see them compete on price with the Genesis coupe 2.0T, but with AWD I don't see that happening.
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Latest reports says it won't have AWD. :(:(:(

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    edited August 2010
    Very risky...will it be optional at least?

    Toyota will sell most of them simply because it has more dealers.
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Well, you know my feelings here. There's nothing wrong with it being RWD—as long as it's only sold as a Toyota.

    These are still rumors, so nothing official has been said.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Strategically I say make the Toyota RWD only and the Subaru AWD only.

    No overlap, plus it keeps the identity intact.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    I agree. Plus a small coupe like this will have a limited audience and an even smaller one if people want to save the weight or like a traditional RWD setup. AWD is kind of Subarus calling card...

    Having an option to go to Toyota to get a RWD version is smart.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    the more this darn thing is going to cost when it finally arrives. Toyota is supposed to be on track for late next year, when will the Subaru version arrive??

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'm guessing Subaru's version will mirror WRX pricing, i.e. starting at $24,995 but quickly reaching $30k with the stuff you want.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    edited August 2010
    It's puzzling to me that anyone buys the base model WRX with its cheapish interior (hard plastics everywhere) and dinkus 5-watt stereo for $25 large. Just look at what you get in a GTI for the same money.

    I guess it makes less difference for hardcore speed enthusiasts who value performance at the expense of everything else, but how many of those are there that also have $25K? For me the minimum requirements would be the WRX Premium which is more like $28K, right?

    This upcoming coupe had better be all that and more with less power than the WRX and a $30K price tag.....

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

  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Mazda And Subaru: “Long Live The ICE!"

    Should both need hybrid technology, they just buy it from Toyota. “Given their limited R&D budgets, they find it wiser to target the 95 percent of the market that is non-electric,” says The Nikkei.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    I'm glad Mazda is using whatever dollars it has left over in its R&D budget to keep the rotary alive, I would much rather have rotaries in the world than yet another lookalike hybrid.

    But I thought Subaru was going to have a hybrid model in a few years, didn't they announce that? They need to do something to drastically improve their fuel efficiency (although the first steps have been taken with the move to CVT for automatics), even if it means adopting Toyota's HSD. I would think they would have been better off going with the diesel - what happened to the diesel? Everything in the technological improvement arena for engines seems to be on hold at Subaru, I would have to echo the similar comments made earlier in this space.

    And how about getting some weight out of these cars? That would be another way to improve fuel economy a bit.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The way I see it many WRX buyers see a generic double-DIN stereo opening and will just swap out the OE stuff anyway...

    Subaru is missing an opportunity to make money off them, but it's not their core buyers' interest, so they don't bother for just one model.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Will they pass the big 250K mark this year for the first time in umpteen years (ever??)?

    Soob is at 193K after 9 months, still just barely edging out VW for best improvement in sales YTD, at 22%. But unlike VW and everyone else, Subaru is up 22% over a year that was UP, and up a fair amount at that.

    Soob on a roll...... :-)

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101001/RETAIL01/101009993/1- 448

    Oh, and did I mention that Subaru had the best MONTH of all the manufacturers too, except for post-bankruptcy Chrysler? Up 47% for the month of September. Ford and Hyundai were close though.

    The only hitch to all this good news IMO is that with the Outback and Forester recently updated, sales may gradually slide off over the next couple of years. The new wide-body WRX can't do much to increase sales, and the Impreza redo is still at least a year away and probably two, as is the new Toyobaru coupe.

    Obviously they need to get the new engine out to the Impreza and Outback, and I wonder if they will bring the Outback's new CVT (which is responsible for its big boost in fuel economy over the previous model) to the Forester as well. The 4-speed auto has to go from everywhere it still resides in the Subaru lineup.

    Can they sustain the momentum? If they make all those improvements, I think perhaps so. For now, I'm just waiting to see if they get the 2-5-oh this year. ;-)

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Subaru to hike imports, U.S. output as sales set record pace

    Subaru plans to increase U.S. production and imports from Japan 20 to 25 percent in the fourth quarter to keep up with consumer demand that the automaker expects will lead it to a record sales year.

    .......
    A 91 percent jump in September sales of the Outback, the brand's highest-volume model, led the gain. Subaru sold 8,154 Outback crossovers, which is built at the company's Lafayette, Ind., plant, along with the Tribeca SUV and Legacy sedan.

    Outback sales are up 95 percent this year to 66,384, while Legacy sales are up 32 percent.

    ........
    Timothy Colbeck, Subaru's senior vice president of sales, said the automaker wants to increase U.S. inventories to about a 60-day supply, up from 35 days currently.

    Subaru's current stockpile of vehicles is “obviously a little lighter than we would like to have,” Colbeck told Automotive News.

    “We're looking at establishing a full-year record and hopefully continuing our string of records in October, November and December as we ship this greater number of cars,” he said. To make that possible, output at Indiana and imports from Japan will increase, he said.

    Subaru has been outperforming the U.S. market for the last two years. It was the only brand to post a U.S. sales gain in 2008 and one of three to see sales increase in 2009, along with Kia and Hyundai.


    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101001/RETAIL01/101009986/1- 448

    I knew the new Outback design was going to be a big success, but up 95% for the year is even more impressive than I had expected. I guess they can afford to hold off popping in that new engine from the Forester for a year. And apparently Impreza sales are up 55% too, for which I can't think of an obvious explanation except that they have been really pushing that promo lease on the base model, and I know they have done more fleet sales to rental fleets in northern states.

    My folks just took a trip to Glacier National Park and I was amused to hear that the rental they got was an Impreza sedan. They didn't know how to use the "sport" (self-shiftable) automatic and couldn't understand why it kept revving up to redline before shifting! :-P
    I got them straightened out in the end.

    It would be nice if Subaru could keep the streak going on Imprezas too.

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

  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    But I truely believe that Subie would see a big benefit from the addition of a minivan to the lineup. Something along the lines of the hybrid tourer concept that was shown a year or 2 ago.

    image
    Without the gullwing doors of course...

    Also a Legacy wagon with the STi powerplant would be a welcomed addition :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The CVT is overdue. Hurry it up, guys.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Funny thing is - that hybrid tourer actually inspired the new Impreza design. The whole front end, especially the grille, will likely be identical.

    Subaru's concepts *hint* at a future Subaru, but never take it literally as usually only one small aspect of the concept makes production.

    FWIW that's the coolest concept from them since the B9 Scrambler roadster.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    And why didn't they BUILD the Scrambler? That thing was cool. They should have done it.

    How many seats did the Hybrid Tourer concept have? I didn't know it was minivan-size, but if it was they should kill the Tribeca immediately and build that thing instead.....

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

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Has Subaru ever offered a minivan in other countries? The reason i ask is that years ago we were down in the Caribbean and one of the rental places offered a choice of a "Subaru minivan." I've never seen anything that would resemble such a thing.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    edited October 2010
    I believe the Tribeca is slated to be cancelled at the end of its model run as the Outback is closer in size and selling extremely well.

    A 7-seater, whether a minivan or crossover is essential to the lineup IMO. I think with the gas prices susceptable to skyrocketing again makes the minivan type concept more sense.

    Oh, and I love the nose on the tourer concept. It's probably the most cohesive, and slickest design since the last gen Legacy.

    image
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,234
    Why can't it have gullwing doors?
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Can you imagine opening those up in a parking lot? They would have to be bi or even tri-fold doors just to make that sort of swing.

    I don't think gullwing doors will ever make it to mainstream. Leave that stuff to Mercedes. Doesn't the SLS have them?

    Or... was there a hint of sarcasm there :P
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,234
    How far out do they go compared to a normal door? I haven't seen a SLS in action in a parking lot situation yet...but I know I wouldn't mind having one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Gullwing doors are often problematic and also cost a LOT to produce. They are also pretty impractical, sometimes requiring a higher door sill to compensate for not making the door too big, height-wise. . Then there's the problem of opening the windows.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Plus you have to reinforce the roof a lot to hold all that weight, and that raised the center of gravity. That goes against Subaru's own philosophy.

    It was a very cool concept, no doubt, but I think we'll have to settle for "it inspired the new Impreza's front end", sadly.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    edited November 2010
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Ummm... That's merely one person's interpretation of what this car may look like. Yeah, it looks nice, but it's nothing more than a guesstimate.

    Bob
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    That's what I thought too but I wanted to throw it out there now that the auto show season is starting up again. I am anxiously awaiting what the final production model will look like and I don't find that rendering too unrealistic.

    But ya, I know there are no official shots yet. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Kinda reminds one of an RX-8. It's amazing how Audi styling from the 90s is still influencing modern design.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The front is likely off - a recent concept inspired the upcoming Impreza and I bet this coupe will get similar front-end treatment.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    edited November 2010
    Subaru takes top honors in Kelley, ALG resale rankings

    Subaru has risen to the top of two rankings that predict future residual values.

    ALG, formerly Automotive Lease Guide, predicts 2011 Subaru cars and trucks will hold an average of 53.2 percent of their sticker price after 36 months, the highest score of any brand. Forecasting out to 60 months, Kelley Blue Book predicts Subaru vehicles will retain 39.0 percent of their value, the highest score for any brand with at least four nameplates.

    ALG named Infiniti its top luxury brand, predicting its 2011 vehicles will hold 50.5 percent of their value after 36 months. Kelley gave the luxury nod to BMW, predicting its vehicles will hold 37.1 percent of their value after 60 months.

    .......Kelley cited Subaru for successfully aligning production with demand, keeping lease levels low and producing high-quality, well-designed vehicles.


    You can say that again! And yes, in case you were wondering, Soob's residuals/resale values are now forecast to be higher than either Toyota's or Honda's. :-)

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101129/RETAIL04/311299989/1- - 433

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Wow---compare that to some of KIA's products, which drop to 16%.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Solid news. They gambled on high residuals on their leases and it has paid off.

    Subaru sales skyrocketed another 22% last month, and the funny thing is last year was a record year for them.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Oh, and BY THE WAY, they just happened to reach the lofty sales total of 237,xxx last month, a figure which would be an ALL-TIME ANNUAL SALES RECORD if it weren't for the fact that the YEAR ISN'T OVER YET!! :-P

    With just a little luck this will be the first year ever that Subaru exceeds a quarter million annual sales. And can you believe it, there has been a 33% uptick in Impreza sales (same month over same month last year), of all things!

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The wide-body WRX is a hit. The Impreza design concept looks even better, so perhaps we'll have the first non-controversial WRX intro in the USA. The bug eyes drew criticism in '02, then the '08 model was even more controversial.

    The concept was nearly universally well reviewed.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Member Posts: 1,653
    You didn't mention the 2006 with the popular "Tribeca" facade. :sick:

    image
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    God yeah, that one was worse than the bug eyes of '02.....so BUSY for such a small car!

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

  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Different strokes for different folks...

    I like the looks of my 2007 Obsidean Black hatch better than any generation since the "Rat in Reeboks" era, including the current one.

    62k and hasn't cost me a dime other than a set of tires, OC's, gas and detailings. Still on the original clutch, brakes, etc. Still tight as a drum too. :shades:
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