“Flat is the new up,” declared a Subaru of America official, earlier this year. And while the automaker has since discovered it can’t entirely escape the laws of gravity in a viciously weak market, Subaru is one of the only car brands that has actually been able to make the recession work in its favor.
Until the economy went into a complete nose-drive, last autumn, the small Japanese automaker was actually heading for an all-time sales record, notes SoA senior vice president of sales, Tim Colbeck. And while that goal is off the table in the current climate, the launch of new products, like last year’s updated Forester and the all-new, 2010 Legacy sedan, are helping it avoid the fate of even the strongest industry powerhouses, like Toyota.
“We’re in a race with ourselves,” says Colbeck, who has been in Seattle, this week, for the first media drive of the new Legacy, which is now celebrating its 20th year on the market. “Our objective, with this car, is to get Subaru sedans on the map,” he continues, adding that for the maker to grow, it has to tap into not only new product segments but also expand its position beyond its long-standing core markets.