Struggling Yen causes Subaru to postpone crucial diesel hatch
23 December 2008

The long-awaited diesel Subaru Impreza UK launch has been delayed indefinitely due to the yen exchange rate, which hit its highest level in 13 years last Wednesday.

Sources inside International Motors, Subaru’s official UK importer, admitted that the company had no choice but to delay the vital diesel model until the Yen rate drops.

“At the current rate we would have to charge vastly more than we can justify for the diesel Impreza if we were to make a profit. As a result we can’t guarantee when the car will go on sale as we can’t predict when the economy will change.”

Subaru is not the only company suffering as a result of the poor exchange rate. Takeo Fukui, Honda’s chief executive, called on the Japanese government to ‘move a bit more swiftly’ to stabilise the Yen after the company announced that it could make a second-half loss. Toyota has also posted its first operating loss since 1941.

Though the Japanese government has intervened in its currency rates in the past, there is no guarantee as yet that any action will be taken in the current crisis.

Vicky Parrott

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21

23 December 2008

[quote Autocar]Toyota has also posted its first operating loss since 1941. [/quote]

No, it hasn't. It only warned it might. There's a difference, you know...

23 December 2008

Pity, as it would have made it a viable option for many who just would not consider a petrol engine.

23 December 2008

Car sales are plummeting and Subaru isn't going to bring in what would be the most popular engine option on their most popular model? Looks a bit fishy to me. The boxer diesel is a brilliant piece of kit from a driving point of view, but how has it been shaping up in terms of reliability, servicability and so on?

23 December 2008

[quote roadtester]would be the most popular engine option[/quote]

Their most expensive engine too, though i'd guess.

23 December 2008

Let's get a grip here and put this in to perspective...

Subaru's most popular models are the WRX and STi. Pure and simple. Very rarely do you see an vanila Impreza on the roads. These are performance cars (although less so with every generation). The diesel is just a run about, something to do your shopping in. It was never going to set the road on fire! Therefore it was never going to be their best seller. That the new WRX and STi haven't warmed to the current owners is another matter.

Why would they wish to bring in a diesel? Subaru have dreams of taking on the likes of the VW Golf and Audi A3. A3 is an easy target - it's in desperate need of a ground up refresh, a tad of new make-up hardly fits the bill. Golf is a much more difficult target, and the new Impreza can't even touch the Golf from two generations ago.

But what about the diesel question? Recently I had the pleasure of running a 330i then a 330d for a month. The diesel was 6% more fuel efficient, but slower and less refined than the petrol But wait! Diesel was also 15% more expensive to buy! The modern petrol engine can be the most economical choice for a performance car.

Classic case of looking at the evidence and deducing your own conclusions rather than following what you've been spoon fed. Many journalists have said that Subaru need a diesel; this is simply not the case. Subaru need to bring some excitement back to the brand.

23 December 2008

Let's spin this another way. If the exchange rate doesn't favour bringing cars in to the UK, then may be for once we may be competitive in exporting cars for a change. This is good for the British industry we have left. Just a shame that world car sales are at a low.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

24 December 2008

[quote TegTypeR]This is good for the British industry we have left. Just a shame that world car sales are at a low.[/quote]

It would be if we had a manufacturing base left, not just automotive. Unfortunately the current government has for many years not valued UK manufacturing. Instead favoring the idea that you can have the intellectual property developed and owned in the UK with production in a cheaper economy.

An argument on the merits of the current government policy is for another time. But I will say that current prime minister has a really difficult job because he can't blame the incompetence of the previous chancellor!

24 December 2008

So they're stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The new Impreza's brief was to appeal to a wider audience and that would include a desperately needed diesel. So now this ain't gonna happen and they have to rely on the traditional high-performance models. How will they keep this up?

Is this the beginning of the end for Subaru?

24 December 2008

[quote manicm]Is this the beginning of the end for Subaru?[/quote]

I hope not, but we've still to see a few companies go.

The new Impreza was to appeal to a wider audience than those looking for the performance car bargin. So they did a hatchback for the UK (you can still get the saloon in the US). But you're launching a hatchback in to a very busy market, you've got Focus, Astra and Golf to contend with.

Focus is bargin basement cheap. Golf is still the quality choice, it's interior superb and relfected in it's residual values. Astra is a Vauxhall. If you're looking at the performance varients then you really have to gome some serious consideration to the Golf GTi, but it's the WRX you'd have to compare against as for outright performace it's still the STi which is king.

Even here though it's not all good news. The 2.5l engines don't seem to be as powerful as their 2.0l grandfathers; certainly their 0-60 times are slower. Added to this the strange handling and grip. If you're going for a white knuckle ride then it hangs on like a leach, but pottering around and it's found wanting, understeering at in corners which wouldn't have bothered an Impreza of old.

While the new Impreza is good in many areas, it doesn't excell in any. It's not cheap, so the Focus wins here. Inside the Golf wins on both quality and space. And it's not even better looking than the Astra. That's why the Impreza has failed to impress, not that there's no diesel.

27 December 2008

[quote roadtester]Car sales are plummeting and Subaru isn't going to bring in what would be the most popular engine option on their most popular model? Looks a bit fishy to me. The boxer diesel is a brilliant piece of kit from a driving point of view, but how has it been shaping up in terms of reliability, servicability and so on?[/quote]

This decision all has to do with the £ Sterling going to the dogs, many thanks to past UK governments for not joining the Euro when they should have done!

All the R&D has been done on the Impreza and it is alrready on the market here in France. Yes the derv version is more expensive at (like for like) €24,000 for the petrol 2.0 and €26,500 of the D but the D is the one which is selling like hot cakes over here. http://www.subaru.fr/tarifs_new_impreza.html

Most Subaru products are somewhat niche market and can't realistically be compared like for like with any others.............. Subaru UK's decision has to do with them having cold feet!

Loving life in France with my Springers

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