Contrasting with its rich rally heritage, Subaru is now “primarily an SUV brand”, according to UK boss Paul Tunnicliffe. Speaking at the launch of the new Forester, Tunnicliffe acknowledged the huge contribution that the WRX sub-brand has made to Subaru sales. But he said there was “an inevitable end of product life cycle happening with it”.
He added: “Things are now in a different place. That market is not as big as it used to be. The EC has strict CO2 targets, and unless you’re selling lots of hybrids or electric cars, a product like WRX STI is hard to justify.”
Tunnicliffe also cited the increased cost of ownership and insurance as problematic, plus the unfavourable yen rate. The last batch of current-model WRX STIs was eventually discounted by £5000 before recently selling out, and there are no plans to import more.