Subaru to shift brand values towards comfort, space and refinement
1 October 2009

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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Comments
14

1 October 2009

I think Subaru need to review their design team in the first instance. the new Imprezza and now Legacy are just awful looking cars.

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

I don't think subaru uk know what their customers want. Why for example did they never have the Legacy Turbos in the UK, because that would have been a big seller judging by the large number of imports from Japan that are available.

1 October 2009

[quote Autocar]Subaru is to radically alter its brand values to try and improve its position in the UK.[/quote]Brand values? What about not making the cars look so bloody bland and/or awkward? The current range is wholly unremarkable: emotionless, insipid, and generally lacking.

1 October 2009

There are some real corporate prats alive and well in the boardroom of businesses up and down the country. The Subaru UK MD seems to be one of them.

They'll have the odd 'blue sky' session and then get down to some strategy type stuff where they'll 'roadmap' the path they wish to follow and then convince themselves it can be done and it's really clear that's what's happened here.

Some corporate prat at Subaru thinks they can grab a decent market share based on some fancy powerpoint presentations and a plan when the fact of the matter is Subaru are a niche manufacturer who have blown out they're core customers and replaced the model line up with fecal matter that NO-ONE wants to buy.

I despise this shi te, I despise people like him.

Anyone have a scooby what this REALLY means?

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.”

I'd suggest he doesn't have a clue about what the brand is, where it sits and what it means to people.

1 October 2009

Subaru's board in Japan and the UK don't appear to have a SCOOBY what their core brand values are! They can still offer utilitarian mainstream models, but why drop all that engineering heritage in the process. This was what made Subaru. Their Boxer diesel is a great piece of automotive engineering. They need to employ a braver design team too! Who in their right mind would sign off the design for the latest Impreza, unless they had not seen the competition? Even previous versions of the Impreza's rivals out do it in the looks department. The Legacy was always deemed bland, but that allowed it a little Q car status. All they needed to do was improve the looks and move the interior on a generation, but instead they have gone backwards. Why are they putting the poor quality Impreza dash in all their new products?

It's corporate suicide. They should be looking at business plans of smaller manufacturers like Jaguar, Saab, Volvo. Or maybe Toyota should step in to give them a helping hand.

Bring back the Legacy Spec B and the Saloons!!!

"Why is http://www.nanoflowcell.com not getting more media attention? It could be the future... Now!"

1 October 2009

i agree with everyone else here. the cars are now too ugly. they will not appeal to the mainstream, and yet they are pulling out of the specialist market they practically invented. i predict a reveral before too long as they just wont sell anything.

Its a shame, they are well made, well engineered, and usually good to drive. But they are not the only maker to offer this, so you need a reason to buy one, and i cant think of one right now.

1 October 2009

In a world of looky likey Fords, Vauxhalls VW`s etc, I like the "go it alone" Subaru ranges of this world.

Brutal styling, 4 wheel drive, wonderful flat 4 engines, love it

AV

1 October 2009

I agree. Mercedes-Benz and Saab were once like this too, until the engineering philosophy was perverted by the Power Point brigade. Now they are just (rather naff) 'brands'.

1 October 2009

You would hope that someone from Subaru UK would read a thread like this and see the common theme.

Subarus of the past may never have been beautiful but that had a definite purposeful and aggresive look to them.

The previous generations of Impreza all had it.

Even the current (now previous?) Legacy was a handsome car particualrly in estate form.

The new generations of both look really dull and resemble previous generations of japanese cars that even the Japanese have moved on from.

If you want to make middle of the road cars then your designs have to be as good as VW/Ford/Vauxhall etc. At least before they had the market pretty much to themselves and they were good at it.

1 October 2009

[quote Pavgub]Why for example did they never have the Legacy Turbos in the UK[/quote]

Totally agree with you. Why was there a turbo Forester but no turbo Legacy in the UK? In today's environment of downsizing, and drives for efficiency they should have direct-injection, turbo versions of their 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 litre petrols across the range. They should forget about the new 3.6 litre.

There should have been a flat six 3.0 diesel by now too, with one or two turbos. With this range they would be able to have comparable performance to BMW, Audi et al.

The Impreza should have kept the saloon option, with the new hatchback sold as 'broadening' the range.

The automatic gearbox should have been more than 4-speed for a long time now - surely they can buy one in.

While I am no fan of the new Legacy's looks, the loss of frameless windows, or the 'solid' rear pillar in the Tourer, it is the lack of improved engines that currently puts me off.

1 October 2009

It was not so long ago that Sabaru were rubbished as pointless left field choices that might appeal to vets in the Highlands. The rally success and the sale of high powered turbo models changed all that.

Given that a lower powered mainstream models do not need four wheel drive and that the SUVs are not efficient vehicles what are they hopong to do? Build a Mondeo beater on a shoestring?

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