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Dismal August May Result in Fall Sales Renaissance

Smaller makers enjoyed strong sales.

by on Sep.02, 2016

Subaru was one of many smaller automakers that defied the trend of sales losses, in some measure due to strong Outback sales.

August was the first tough month for U.S. new vehicle sales that automakers have faced in some time with sales falling 3.5% compared to the year ago results.

General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Nissan all took hits of more than 5% on the month. Honda sales were down 3.8% for August, but the Japanese maker was expected to post an increase of 2.5% by most estimates.

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As usual, utility vehicles and trucks sold in big numbers – with the F-150, Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra being notable exceptions – for automakers while passenger cars continued their long slide out of favor with the buying public. (more…)

Buyers Showing Love for All-Wheel-Drive Vehicles

Sales have increased five points in five years.

by on Dec.13, 2013

Subaru's sales jump this year is helping to push sales of all-wheel-drive-equipped vehicles to new highs.

With nasty winter weather dominating the headlines the past few years, it would seem people are buying vehicles better equipped to handle the elements: sales of all-wheel-drive vehicles have risen five percentage points in five years.

Nearly one-third – 31.3% – of new vehicles sold through September were equipped with either all- or four-wheel drive. This is up from 26.3% during the same nine-month span of 2008, according to data from Polk, an automotive research firm in Southfield, Mich.

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While Mother Nature may have played a small role in the increase, more likely it’s the rising sales of crossovers and small sport-utilities as well as companies that feature AWD vehicles, such as Audi and Subaru, that have spurred the change. (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.


Screaming Hot Subaru

Japanese niche maker’s stock jumps 500% in barely 18 months.

by on Aug.12, 2013

Subaru has caught the eye of investors as its stock price has risen 500% in 18 months.

Little Subaru has turned into a big deal as far as investors are concerned.

After squeaking out an increase in sales during even the worst years of the Great Recession, the stock market seems convinced the automotive arm of Fuji Heavy Industries has even bigger opportunities ahead, with Fuji shares increasing fivefold since the beginning of 2012.

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But while the maker’s President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga says Subaru is “at a major turning point,” he is also sounding a note of caution for those who think the maker might now shift its focus from niche products like the Forester crossover and WRX hot hatch to become a true mainstream manufacturer. (more…)

Subaru on Track for Another Record Year

New products critical to growth.

by on Apr.01, 2013

The new Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid at its NY Auto Show debut last week.

Subaru is on track for its sixth consecutive year of increased demand – and another annual record, according to its new U.S. president.

The little maker defied the industry trends by posting a string of sales increases even during the worst automotive downturn since the Great Depression. It has gained even more momentum since the U.S. automotive market began to rebound three years ago. For 2012, Subaru sold 336,441 units: a 26% increase compared with the previous year.

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Tom Doll, promoted last month from COO to President of Subaru of America, said during a press conference at the New York International Auto Show that sales have gotten off to another strong start in 2013, lifting expectations for another year of record sales. Since 2007, Subaru is the only carmaker to post a continuous string of sales increases over the last five years.


Domestic Automakers Rebound in 2011; Will 2012 Bring Japanese Revival

Toyota, Honda end year down but promise comeback.

by on Jan.04, 2012

After setting its third consecutive annual sales record, Subaru will aim for a fourth with new models like the BRZ sports car.

Carmakers celebrated another 10% gain in car sales for 2011 as they finished the year with sales at the best level in years.  There were a few notable exceptions, however, as two of Japan’s three largest makers wrapped up 2011 with further sales declines – while promising to turn things around in 2012.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales was 13.6 million units as several manufacturers, including Chrysler, Kia, Hyundai, Subaru and Volkswagen, wrapped up 2011 with impressive gains during December. Kia, for example, posted a 42.6% increase in the final month of the year, while Chrysler sales were up 37.6% increase for December.

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Notably, December saw transaction prices rise to record levels while incentives dipped for the month, following a months-long trend despite the push by some Japanese makers to try to rebuild their market share by putting plenty of cash on the hood.


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.