Subaru is to be relaunched in the UK after a number of lean years for the Japanese brand, according to Paul Tunnicliffe, managing director of IM Group, the UK importer of Subarus.
Two all-new models based on the company’s new Global Platform – the XV crossover and the Impreza hatchback – are due in showrooms by the beginning of 2018 and an all-new Forester is expected to arrive in 2019.
Tunnicliffe told Autocar that Subaru’s UK annual sales had slipped to “around 3500 units” in recent years, dropping from a peak of about 12,500 in 1999 – “although, admittedly, 6000 of that total was WRX Impreza models”, he said. Last year, Subaru sold 1.1 million vehicles globally.
Marketing director Chris Hawken has just appointed a new, London-based advertising agency and said the company has been conducting customer clinics.
He told Autocar existing Subaru customers were usually based in rural areas and praised Subaru’s permanent all-wheel drive for “providing absolute security in all weathers”.
Hawken added: “There are crossover owners who assume their car is a 4x4, when many are front drive.”
Tunnicliffe said Subaru’s heavy engineering bias means it is “more likely to spend money under the skin than on soft-touch plastics for the interior”. One of Subaru’s strongest suits will be ‘real-world’ safety. Its new platform has already been proven to be capable of taking a high-speed frontal impact from a 2.5-tonne vehicle and containing the damage ahead of the windscreen and front doors.