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First Look: 2015 Subaru Outback

by on Apr.17, 2014

The 2015 Subaru Outback was revealed today at the New York International Auto Show: 20 years after its initial debut at the same show.

Few vehicles have played a more important role in the transformation of a brand as has the Subaru Outback, so it’s no surprise the Japanese maker has so much riding on the all-new model making its debut at the New York International Auto Show.

The launch of the new 2015 Subaru Outback comes five generations and exactly 20 years after the original crossover was launched in the Big Apple. And much has changed over the years. The Legacy has gotten larger, roomier, more powerful and more lavishly equipped with each remake. That holds true this time around, noted Tom Doll, President and COO of the maker’s U.S. subsidiary.

Pedal to the Metal!

“The 2015 Outback hasn’t forgotten its roots,” he proclaimed, “but it’s reaching for the stars.” (more…)

Subaru Snuffs Out Tribeca SUV

3-row replacement reportedly in the works.

by on Oct.21, 2013

Out in the cold? Subaru plans to end production of the Tribeca after this model-year.

Despite repeated attempts to save the largely unloved SUV, Subaru has decided to pull the plug on the Tribeca, one of the few truly weak models for a Japanese automaker that defied gravity during a recession that sent most competitors crashing to earth.

The most expensive model in the Subaru line-up, and originally known as the Subaru B9 Tribeca, the ute will be pulled from production at the end of the 2014 model-year, according to Subaru officials.

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Introduced during the 2006 model-year, the Tribeca was meant to take the Japanese maker up-market compared to more mainstream models like the Outback and Forester.  But it quickly generated more than its share of criticism, especially for the peculiarly angular snout of the first-generation B9 model.


Might Millennials Diss Boomer Parents and Revive Station Wagons?

Estates, shooting brakes and sportbacks.

by on Mar.29, 2013

Station wagons like Volvo's V60 may lead a revival of the segment.

Like a lot of folks in New York trade unions, Terry Keegan got his in through his family, but’s not always “like-father-like-son.” Baby Boomer Terry Sr. grew up in the back of a station wagon, often relegated to watching the world go by out the back window, his older siblings getting to ride up front. But when it was time to start his own family, Keegan opted first for a minivan and then a “cooler” SUV.

Now it’s junior’s time to express his individuality, the Millennial pausing for a moment as he dashed through the Jacob Javits convention center to check out the new Volvo V60 R-Design wagon.

“That’s not like the wagons my dad used to hate,” he laughs. “I don’t see the wood panels. This thing is really hot. I could see myself driving it.”

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Maybe it’s simply a classic case of generational revolt, but industry planners are watching closely to see whether the long-dismissed station wagon is finally – after several false starts – ready for a revival.


First Look: 2013 Subaru Legacy and Outback

More good news for NY Auto Show-goers.

by on Mar.30, 2012

The 2013 Subaru Outback will formally debut at the NY Auto Show next week.

We almost don’t need to bother going to next week’s NY Auto Show.  Almost.  But while virtually everything planned for the media preview has already been previewed in advance there’s still nothing like checking out the sheet metal in person.

For now, though, enjoy these images of the latest offerings to break cover.  Subaru previously revealed the new XV CrossTrek.  Now, it’s providing pics of the new 2013 Legacy and Outback models, both getting moderately extensive updates.

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But what may draw the closest attention is the fact that Subaru claims the 2013 Legacy will deliver segment-leading 32 mpg fuel economy.

Among other things, both updates will be offered with the maker’s new EyeSight system, a lower-cost way of providing such advanced safety systems as Adaptive Cruise Control, Vehicle Lane Departure Warnings and Pre-Collision Braking.


Subaru Teases XV Crossover Introduction

Production version of concept shown in Shanghai.

by on Aug.11, 2011

Subaru offers a tease of the new XV crossover.

Automakers are beginning to sketch out the details of what they have coming for the Frankfurt Motor Show next month – quite literally in the case of Subaru, which is offering us this teaser rendering of the new XV.

A concept version of the new crossover made its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show, earlier in the year.  The upcoming German event will bring the introduction of the production Subaru XV, which will serve as the replacement for the maker’s current Impreza Outback Sport model – at least in Europe and China. Exactly what that means for U.S. buyers remains to be seen.

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The automotive arm of Fuji Heavy Industries is holding back the details, but the production XV is likely to mimic the dimensions of the concept shown in Shanghai.  It was slightly longer and about an inch taller than the current Impreza Outback Sport – though it shared the production models all-wheel-drive system.


Big News: Subaru Reveals Grand Outback

Bigger is better, and that's no joke...maybe.

by on Apr.01, 2011

Bigger is better?

It’s that season when manufacturers start unveiling the coming model-year’s products.  And while some press releases require hours of reading to get to the pertinent facts.  However, Subaru’s missive revealing today’s surprise launch of the “Grand” Outback was so well written and succinct we found it impossible to do anything but offer the maker’s release intact:

In a bid to continue its record-setting sales streak, Subaru of America today announced the debut of a new model, the Subaru “Grand” Outback.

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The new model will be identical in looks to the current best-selling model but will be 50% bigger in every dimension.  This means that wheelbase increases from 107.9” to 166”, track is up from 61” to 90” and ground clearance up from an already class-leading 8.7” to 13”.

Subaru’s rationale behind the “Grand” Outback is simple: Its current generation of vehicles grew by 20% and corresponding sales grew by 50%.  Thus, by making Outback 50% larger still, Subaru can logically expect sales to more than double.


Toyota, Subaru Trim U.S. Production in Wake of Japanese Disaster

“We’re watching hour-by-hour, part-by-part.”

by on Mar.15, 2011

Subaru halts U.S. prouction of the Outback.

The impact of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami has now reached the U.S., two automakers announcing plans to cut back on production due to potential shortages of imported components.

Other Japanese makers are still assessing the situation, as are Detroit’s Big Three, all of which import parts and components from Japan.

“We’re watching hour-by-hour, part-by-part,” said a senior industry executive asking not to be identified by name.

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Subaru of America says it is suspending indefinitely production at its assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana.  The factory produces the maker’s Outback, Tribeca and Legacy sedan models.  There are 3,500 U.S. workers at the factory, which last year produced 150,000 vehicles.

The shutdown could disrupt Subaru’s steady growth in the American market.  The maker last year posted an all-time sales record of 263,820 vehicles, a 16% increase.


Subaru Defies Gravity

But can SoA keep the momentum going?

by on Jan.04, 2010

Leading the way: Subaru was one of only three brands to post a sales gain in 2009 and will close the year with record volume.

While December’s numbers may hold the faint glimmering of hope, it will be difficult to put much of a positive spin on dismal 2009 – unless you’re Subaru of America (SoA), that is.  When the year’s final numbers are reported, this week, the U.S. market will show a decline of 24%, to the lowest level of sales since the deep recession of the early 1980s.  But despite the doom-and-gloom of the American economy, Subaru somehow pulled off a 14% increase in sales for the year.

The Japanese maker, long little more than a niche marketer, jumped from 19th among all automotive brands operating in the U.S., surging past Volkswagen of America – whose parent will end ’09 as the world’s largest automaker – and coming within a hairsbreadth of Chrysler’s Jeep division.

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Subaru was one of only three brands to post a sales gain in the U.S. in 2009 – Korea’s Kia was up 8%, while its sibling, Hyundai, gained 6%.  And the Japanese maker did it without relying on the budget-busting cash-back offers that propped up its rivals.  While the automaker won’t provide precise details, industry-watchers estimate SoA spent an average of just $1,800 a vehicle in rebates and other givebacks, compared with an industry average of $2,700, and more than $5,000 for some brands, such as General Motors.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Marketing, motivating, miserable, messy and mansions …

by on Oct.09, 2009

Toyota’s Big Bucks Marketing & Ad Spend

Despite a significant drop in retail sales since CARS, aka Clunkers, made them king of the hill, Toyota, according to industry reports is about to spend $1 billion … yes the “b” word on marketing and advertising in the fourth quarter which started a few days ago.

It will be interesting to follow this huge jump in spending to see (a) where the media bucks are going and (b) what the creative will be. Toyota’s ads have been rather bland and lackluster except for the Prius and that’s not exceptional. Toyota’s choice of media from what I have seen, heard and/or read is suspect.

Like Goofy Motors, their advertising is creatively challenged and lacking in focus, much less a rational, believable raison d’être. The brand’s loss of sales and market share, the quality recalls and now the legal predicament need more than an emergency room triage fix. This is major life support for the brand and its dealers.

That said, Toyota is to be complimented on this aggressive and dynamic move. They can and should set the pace for the automotive industry not just in cars sold, but also in their approach to marketing.

Play It Again Sven … Please

DDB Stockholm, Volkswagen’s Swedish advertising agency recently launched a campaign dedicated to the idea that something as simple as happiness is the easiest way to get people to change habits and attitudes.

Like getting people to do some physical exercise by skipping the escalator and walking up the stairs – better for the individual to get the exercise of walking than riding. Make it easy. Make it fun. Make it like this. Click here for a truly enjoyable, fun and motivating commercial.

And getting people to pick-up or dispose of trash can be a daunting task, except if it’s done with humor, style and good natured. Here is another from DDB for Volkswagen.

Gyrating Motors Newest Caddy Ad – YGBK!

Fritz Henderson in 2010 Cadillac SRX.

Fritz Henderson in 2010 Cadillac SRX.

The new Cadillac SRX advertising of its smart looking crossover running through the usual scenic backdrops has seeming countless supers exclaiming, proclaiming many attributes using various “re” words – reinvigorate for example.

Now a one-word review: regurgitate.

Then there’s the Buick LaCrosse’s selection – paid of course — as the official automobile of the 2nd Annual New York City Wine and Food Festival., a huge event for the city known for its many foodies.


First Drive: 2010 Subaru Legacy Sedan

Pushing more mainstream?

by on Jun.26, 2009

With Subaru's all-new, 2010 Legacy sedan, the company aims to step up its presence in the mainstream midsize market.

With Subaru's all-new, 2010 Legacy sedan, the company aims to step up its presence in the mainstream midsize market.

To many folks, the voice of the small import automaker, Subaru, carries with it an Australian accent.  That’s courtesy of actor Paul Hogan, aka Crocodile Dundee, who became synonymous with Subaru and its line-up of sport-utility vehicles, dubbed Outback, when they were launched a couple decades back.  The utes – and the memorable ad campaign – helped revive the then-foundering brand, but also shifted Subaru’s focus from mainstream sedans and coupes to SUVs and ute-like crossovers.

With the launch of the 2010 Subaru Legacy a midsize four-door, the Japanese-based maker is circling back on itself.  It’s by no means walking away from the truck-like products that have proved its salvation – indeed, helped it maintain nearly flat sales in a market where even Toyota is down, for the year, by more than 30%.  But with its market share at record levels, and brand awareness booming, as well, Subaru is betting a better-equipped and more stylish sedan can gain traction against more mainstream marques, like Nissan and Volkswagen. headed for the Pacific Northwest to get some stick time in the 2010 Legacy, which had made a semi-official first appearance as a “concept” car, at the Detroit Auto Show, last January, and then reappeared in full production trim at February’s Chicago Auto Show.