Subaru is to radically alter its brand values to try and improve its position in the UK.
The company plans to lessen the focus on performance cars and concentrate on creating more comfortable, spacious and refined cars instead.
Paul Tunnicliffe, Managing Director of IM Group Ltd, Subaru’s official UK importer, explained that Subaru “is not disregarding its rally heritage, but in the long term we need to broaden our target audience.”
Tunnicliffe maintains that the strategy was not created as a response to Subaru’s decision to withdraw from the 2009 World Rally Championship.
“The market for high power, low cost turbocharged cars wasn’t working long term" he said. "Our all-wheel drive philosophy is still a big part of the product’s appeal, and we will continue to produce cars that are rewarding to drive, but we can’t only rely on that to sell cars any more.”
The company’s new tagline is ‘uncommon sense’, with the intention being to sell cars on the back of the niche appeal and rarity factor of the marque, as well as the newfound levels of passenger comfort that the company is showcasing in its latest model, the 2010 Legacy.
Kenyon Neads, marketing director of Subaru UK, described the shift as a “move away from STi and WRX and more towards utilitarian cars, which is also why we won’t have a Legacy Spec B, nor a Legacy saloon for the foreseeable future.”
Neads admits that the brand was “not absolutely robust, and in many ways was polarised, but the new strategy should make it more cohesive and introduce new buyers.”
Subaru has struggled with a poor exchange rate and low sales throughout 2009, selling only 1882 cars in the UK since the beginning of 2009, giving it a market share of just 0.16 per cent