Car maker wants to rejuvenate image in the UK with new XV, Impreza and Forester
20 December 2017

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.

Next Subaru WRX due in 2020 as 'driver's car' with electrified powertrains

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.

Subaru’s failure to prosper during a period of huge growth in the UK crossover market has puzzled many in the UK industry, particularly as the brand was one of the originators of the genre, launching the Forester and Legacy Outback more than 20 years ago.

Read more 

Subaru Impreza review 

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Comments
11

20 December 2017

I moved from Subaru in 2017 after being a customer for the last 20 years. The two things which would have prevented me from doing so were:

1) Provide an alternative to the CVT

2) Engine choice - they all seem a bit dull.

20 December 2017
Didn't really care much for the loss of the STi, it'd become a bit toxic image wise anyway. A big turn off for with me Subaru's was when they moved to the 5th gen Legacy. Really awkward looking in comparison to the 4th gen, particularly with wagon version.

20 December 2017

Subaru has an all-new Ascent SUV but they aren't importing it to the UK?

They promote the Levorg and successfully win the BTCC, but only offer it with a CVT?

Why is the 'VX' called the 'XV' in the UK? It's called the Crosstrek elsewhere and marketed more as a go-anywhere family vehicle.

They had a hybrid powertrain, but Subaru has dropped it, just as Hybrid sales are on the up.

The current currency swing hasn't helped margins or has upped prices of the imports.

A few thoughts.

20 December 2017

They're not competitive when comparing finance deals either.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

20 December 2017

I have also had Subaru's for the last 15 years or so, but am struggling to repalce my Legacy. The UK never seems to get the best models. The last model Legacy was only an estate (no saloon)in uk, the original unique Forester has become just another SUV for the school run, looks like all the rest.  The XV comes wth a ridiculously low power uneconomical 1.6....

In the far East/Australia/US they have a Levorg STi with the 2.0 turbo engine. Similarly they had the Legacy with 2.5 turbo, but only the 2.5 normally aspirated in the UK. I think Subaru are missing a trick, it's no wonder their sales have been falling for the last decade.

It's a shame, as their cars are incredibly robust and reliable, far better than German premium brands.

DVB78

20 December 2017

I have also had Subaru's for the last 15 years or so, but am struggling to repalce my Legacy. The UK never seems to get the best models. The last model Legacy was only an estate (no saloon)in uk, the original unique Forester has become just another SUV for the school run, looks like all the rest.  The XV comes wth a ridiculously low power uneconomical 1.6....

In the far East/Australia/US they have a Levorg STi with the 2.0 turbo engine. Similarly they had the Legacy with 2.5 turbo, but only the 2.5 normally aspirated in the UK. I think Subaru are missing a trick, it's no wonder their sales have been falling for the last decade.

It's a shame, as their cars are incredibly robust and reliable, far better than German premium brands.

DVB78

20 December 2017

This shouldn't be a surprise. In the past 20 years pretty much every other car brand has encroached on what was Subaru's (near) USP of affordable 4WD vehicles.

The last 10 years have also witnessed a seemingly ever-ending obsession with "mass premium" German-badged brands, of which much volume is facilitated by consumer credit. Just take a drive around your local suburban housing estate - where once there would have been countless Escorts and Cortinas now sit BMWs, MBs and Audis.

Massive marketing budgets have essentially brainwashed impressionable consumers into thinking that their social standing will suffer unless they drive a German-badged car - whether they can afford it or not. 

Small marketing budgets and high franchise network turnover - often in less than ideal locations - haven't helped Subaru, whose customers appear to be tweedy old ladies & gents who value all-weather capability above all else - and as they age, their numbers are diminishing. 

Don't get me wrong - I love the brand, having been an owner for the past 10+ years.

 

20 December 2017

I agree with you about the obsession  with"Premium German Brands" once upon a time BMW & Mercedes Benz were prestige products but now the 3,5 & 7 series are the 2017 equivalent's of the Escort,Cortina & Grenada the Merc equivalent is the C.E & S Classe,you could argue that the 1 series & A class are the Fiesta competitors of today. So the race to the bottom and the massive increase in sales has surely diluted the prestige element? Who was it  said there's a sucker born every minute 

20 December 2017

As someone living off-road in a very rural area, I've always liked Subaru, in principle, if not practice (and I like horizontally-opposed engines). However, in recent, years, they've been spectacularly overpriced and their engine tech has been very old-fashioned and uninspiring. I did seriously look at the Group B Legacy (or whatever it was called) before they dropped it, but CO2/consumption figures were generations behind BMWs of equal or better performance.

20 December 2017

The closest i got to buying a Subaru was a Spec B Legacy. The combo of a 6 pot 3.0 4 wheel drive  and a manual box was the draw, and would be even more unique today. One thing that guarantees i will never set foot in a Subaru showroom going forward is compulsory CVT. But the underpowered engines we get offered would stop me too. A Levorg with power, and a manual box would be very appealing 

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