Currently reading: Subaru to change UK focus
Subaru to shift brand values towards comfort, space and refinement

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

Vicky Parrott

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Citytiger 2 October 2009

Re: Subaru to change UK focus

If Subaru wanted to go down the mainstream route, they would have been better of staying part of the GM group and re working the current Vauxhall Range. The disregard for heritage is a disgrace for the loyal Subaru customers.

Uncle Mellow 2 October 2009

Re: Subaru to change UK focus

Pavgub wrote:
when you see the american market Imprezza saloon, it is a big improvement on the hatchback.

The Imprezza saloon looks like S**T . Is that why Autocar has never printed a picture of it ?

Symanski 2 October 2009

Re: Subaru to change UK focus

It's amazing how many WRXs and STis you see on the roads today. Having owned one in the past (Peter Steven's styled 03 plate), which I bought new and kept for five years, I can say it really was an amazing car. With the performance pack and lowered stiffer springs it was fast, grippy, and a joy to drive.

But, I tried the new Impreza hatchback. Then, not being that impressed, I went to another dealer to try it again. Sure if you're going for a white knuckle ride it can grip, but when you're tottling about it's just not that convincing. I was so gutted that I even went to a Mitshubishi garage - but the sales person in Hamilton talked me out of it telling me how the Evos keep breaking down and are very expensive to repair! Excellent sales person. ;-)

What should Subaru Japan do? Firstly, ditch the UK importer as they're creaming off too much. You often see WRXs in car supermarket for £ 6k less. As a hatchback they've put the WRX right in target of the Focus ST, and the Ford is quite impressive. Not driven the Focus RS, but from what I've heard it's very impressive so that's covered the STi.

Ford have managed to sell the ST and RS so there's still a market out there. Either Subaru comes up with the right product, or reduces the price by the suggested means to a point where it sells again.

As for my 03 Impreza. 90k+ miles, no breaks downs, never let me down once. Fun every day reminding you that driving is to be enjoyed, especially in this increasingly 1984 world we live in. It really did look superb when it came time for it to start a new journey with it's new master. Oh I do miss it's performance.....