Subaru was one of few automakers whose sales actually picked up during the recent recession. But now that auto sales are back on track (and expected to hit pre-recession numbers this year), Subaru is trying to come up with new products to fill voids in its current lineup. Wards Auto had a chance to talk to Subaru's director-product manager Ken Lin, who indicated that the automaker is planning to introduce new models this year that will help it attract new buyers without alienating current ones.

The biggest void, of course, is a competitive three-row crossover, a role the Tribeca does not fill in one a very popular segment. Lin said that while there's no current plan to kill off the Tribeca, Subaru is looking at creating a larger three-row CUV with more interior space. In addition to to something big, Subaru is getting ready to bring its customers more luxury with new touring models, but does not anticipate going toe-to-toe with Mercedes-Benz or BMW.

By the end of this year, Subaru will be introducing a new hybrid model, although we don't yet know on which model it will be based. What we do seem to know is that the car will get its power from a nickel metal hydride battery rather than a more modern lithium-ion pack for the sake of simplicity. Finally, Lin mentioned a new product being brought into the sports car segment, but while the article takes this as a hint toward a possible BRZ Turbo, it could also be a reference to the next generation of the WRX and WRX STI.


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  • 37 Comments
      KO
      • 1 Year Ago
      OK, a better 3-row-something isn't a bad idea, though most people like Subraus for being different in some way, and going directly after the Honda/Toyota/whoevers of the world seems to be a losing proposition. The Forester works 'cause it's a 'CUV' but it's not really. I'd love if they brought back the normal Legacy Wagon, though I don't see the wagon market coming back just yet. Maybe they could find a way to make the Exiga bigger and work in the US market.
      Bryan Pizzuti
      • 1 Year Ago
      The sports segment car will be the WRX. If it isn't then they may as well tell their enthusiast customer base to get lost: from a customer perspective it's way overdue. As far as a three-row, Subaru already has one, the Exiga. They just need to federalize the thing. I doubt the Touring stuff is referring to anything more than the Touring trims of each model, which are pretty well-equipped when you get right down to it.
      Ryan Ducar
      • 1 Year Ago
      Color me overly optimistic, but if FHI were to make the WRX or STI a shooting brake variant of the AS1/216A.... Some of you have probably seen renderings on FT86club or NASIOC, so perhaps you'll know those tingling feels that radiate down ones spine. Make it happen, Subaru!
      Jeremy Pennini
      • 1 Year Ago
      FHI has tried to go "up market" a few times. Last time we got the Tribeca instead and the Impreza 06-07 front end. The previous time we got the LL Bean Edition Legacy and Outbacks.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      lpattis
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dear S.O.A., Please bring back the Legacy wagon, as a sport-tourer...low ground clearance, and a few options for engines, including a nice, torquey diesel. You will earn my business back, if you do...
        hamila2
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lpattis
        Exactly. I don't see the need for 3 SUVs.
          Ryan Ducar
          • 1 Year Ago
          @hamila2
          I don't either, but money talks.
          wilkegm
          • 1 Year Ago
          @hamila2
          There is really very little separation from the Outback to the Tribeca. Either the Tribeca needs to grow into a proper family 3-row cross-over, or it needs to lose the back seat alltogether and assume more of a Q5 or FX370 image.
        Leet
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lpattis
        Wagons do not sell at all in America. They're not going to bring a car here if it cannot sell. People always clamor for wagons, but never buy them. Ask Acura how they're doing with the TSX SportsWagon. It looks great, drives great and is a good value. Then why did they sell just 200 of them last month? Answer....America hates wagons. Are they as versatile as an SUV...of course. But Americans are dumb and got sold on the ride high for safety by GM and Ford. They also love getting 5k off sticker on these American SUVs pieces of crap. So the SUV will live on a long time. Damn 4 dollar gas....ride high like a king in your piece of crap Chevy or Ford Gas Guzzler 4x4.
      pickles
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've got it.. Subaru shouldn't bother with the tired 3-row SUV. Despite that they could make a dent in the market, I'd say taking the minivan concept and butching it up, for athletic, sporty, tough families could be a bonanza. Think of the types that really use their roof racks, go on camping trips (instead of to the mall) and could seriously use AWD in a van. I think it's a tight idea. They could even borrow the Sienna platform -it already has AWD and rework it for outdoorsy folk.
        wilkegm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @pickles
        I would definitely go along with something like that- but only built on real Subaru bones with symetrical AWD- borrowing anything more than detail technology (like gasoline direct injection) from Toyota is the beginning of the end.
        core53mail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @pickles
        Have said this to our Subaru dealer for years. Sadly, by the time they finally listen and build one all my kids will be grown and gone. My Odyssey fills my needed niche -- the 2013 Odyssey I just got is phenomenal -- but would still want to see them enter the market.
        wilkegm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @pickles
        Come to think of it- it's been done before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZxzdNXy_iQ
      Rich
      • 1 Year Ago
      Subaru 101: Know who buys your cars, they don't care about frills. Make it ungodly reliable. The sales are steady, just stay the course.
        Ryan Ducar
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rich
        Case in point: the original Denso starter just went out in my BH Legacy after 12yrs/180,000miles. If there's one thing I know, its their ability to inheriently take some abuse here and there. Love? My wagon has been more dependable than any female I've vested time and interest in.
          Rich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ryan Ducar
          Same here, I'm current on my 3rd WRX with 190K... clutch, timing belt, tires... just drive it.
      pickles
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd say the upscale versions could be wise. The margins are great on options that 'exude luxury' and keep people from leaving the brand for a few things they just can't live without. Further, while we all despise the scheme of a bigass SUV, the reality is that VW is about to get their show on the road with that Pilot-looking-thing and realistically, that could be cheap and appealing. Subaru could offer solid competition, besides to the Sante Fes, Highlanders and CX-9s.
      neilyadig
      • 1 Year Ago
      is Subaru the new Volvo? (in a good way)
        ravenosa
        • 1 Year Ago
        @neilyadig
        Exactly how would being like Volvo be in a good way??? I want Subarus to stay funky and fun to drive ~ pretty much the opposite of a Volvo.
      Vinuuz
      • 1 Year Ago
      So a Subaru AWD van like SUV? Just when we thought there were enough of them already!
      Nick
      • 1 Year Ago
      They DESPERATELY need to come out with a new 5 seat only Tribeca to compete specifically with the Edge and Murano, and a TRUE 3 row seat SUV to compete with the Pilot, CX-9, Traverse etc. I think a Legacy Touring will help, and if they make a Touring Outback trim, please make the cheap looking lower cladding body colored and change up the wheels and trim. HID/LED headlights should be available too, in addition to more features (heated/cooled seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats). And bring back the Panoramic sunroof!!!
        SethG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Nick
        I think the current Outback actually compares quite favorably to the Edge and Murano. The Outback has a reputation as being a high riding wagon but the current generation is sized competitively with 5 passenger CUVs. But they definitely need to update the Tribeca. It's biggest flaw is it's small size and that's because it's on the prior Legacy/Outback platform. I have little doubt they could build on the current Legacy/Outback platform and deliver a competitive 3 row CUV.
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