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The Future of Subaru - Autoweek

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Subaru Pitches Performance
Future vehicles no longer positioned as premium vehicles
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By DIANA T. KURYLKO | Link to Original Article @ AutoWeek

Now that all-wheel drive is common, Subaru of America tries to lure new buyers by adding performance variants based on its rally cars.

But it is also refining its styling, aiming for a clean and more upscale look, and has abandoned the effort to remake Subaru into a premium brand. It is all part of the effort to increase sales to 250,000 units by 2010 - a target Subaru originally had set for 2006.


Forester: Like other recent Subaru revamps, this SUV will get bigger and more conventional looking when it is redesigned for the 2009 model year.

Impreza: Subaru wants to expand the buyer base for its redesigned 2008 Impreza and its two performance models, the WRX and the STi.

The new Impreza and WRX went on sale Aug. 1 and have cleaner lines than their predecessors. For the first time, the four- and five-door models are different both in size and appearance. They were designed to appeal to buyers shopping for an economical Japanese car.

The sedans are about 4.5 inches longer and 2 inches wider than their predecessors. The five-door models, targeted at a more youthful buyer, are 2 inches shorter than the previous versions.

Outback, Legacy: The 2008 Legacy and Outback were freshened. To simplify the range and fine-tune the nameplates, the Outback sedan and the Legacy wagon were dropped. The Outback wagon has a sportier look than its predecessor, and the Legacy sedan is more refined. A redesign comes for the 2010 model year.

Tribeca: Substantially lower-than-expected sales and a chorus of criticism led to a 2008 Tribeca restyling, rather than a minor freshening, just two years after its debut. Subaru is hoping its now conservative-looking crossover strikes a chord the second time around. Subaru also dropped the B9 part of the name, admitting no one knew what it stood for.

The Tribeca's engine was upgraded to a 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer that can run on regular gasoline, unlike the previous 3.0-liter powerplant that ran only on premium. A redesign is expected in 2011.

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I agree with abandoning the premium status for Subaru. The products just do not convey a premium look or attitude.

There is an alarming shortage of expansion in the lineup. All I basically see in the plans are redesigns of the models that the company already offers. It would be great to see a sporty vehicle on the horizon.

I just now noticed this; the 2008 Impreza sedan kind of looks like an old Saturn L-series sedan (especially in profile). Not a good place from which to copy a design, although I believe the similarity is unintentional. The exterior design of both the sedan and hatchback were a little disappointing as was the decision to carry on with a four speed automatic. The interior looks more upscale and attractive, though.

The 2008 Tribeca does look better, but a little bland. Hopefully, this less polarizing exterior appearance will attract more buyers. The larger, more powerful, more fuel efficient engine that requires a lower octane rated gas should also help.

At least the hideous, unsuccessful, aircraft inspired, winged grill monstrosity has been graciously retired to the Edsel Memorial Repulsive Grill Cemetery.

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makes sense, subie is better off selling to the hew hampshire ladies club anyways. DINK's couples would want to be seen dead in one, unless mom was having an orientation crisis anyways.

so the forester will basically become what the 07 highlander is. the not quite full mid sized.....instead of a bulging compact.

too bad the new impreza is such a dud. that pretty much kills their plan. just sayin

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