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The 10 Cars Brands You Pick First - Why Subaru Is Now In Last Place

Which car brands do new car shoppers pick first? An updated Kelley Blue Book report says that Subaru is still 10th overall and why they can't move up.


How many new car shoppers considering buying a 2023 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, Outback, or other all-wheel-drive models?

An updated Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch report and data from Cox Automotive say that among the mainstream (non-luxury) brands, new car shoppers consider Subaru about 12 percent of the time. It is ranked 10th overall among car brands. The recent KBB report says Subaru of America has risen one percentage point from eleven percent earlier this year.

2023 Subaru SUVs

Top 10 car brands in customer consideration

Toyota is number one, followed by Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, GMC, Jeep, and Subaru round out the top 10 car brands. Subaru has no models in the top 10 most considered models. The Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 are among the top 10 most-considered small SUVs that compete with the 2023 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek.

KBB says considerations most important to new car shoppers are: Durability/Reliability, Safety, Affordability, Driving Comfort, and Driving Performance.

2023 Subaru Forester

KBB reveals when customers consider buying a new vehicle, they think of Subaru when considering safety. Models like the 2023 Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, Ascent, and other new Subaru models are regarded as the safest new models by new car shoppers.

Here is a new Subaru report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Why is Subaru tenth overall in new car shopping consideration?

Subaru still has the lowest new vehicle inventory among U.S. automakers. The 2023 Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek sell as fast as Subaru of America can get them to retailers for delivery. This winter, you won't find any new 2023 models on Subaru of America's retailers' lots.

A new report from Subaru Corporation says Subaru of America still has about 48,000 backorders in the U.S., down from 50,000 vehicles earlier this year, and is dealing with a 10-day supply of new cars, Subaru's CEO said. Subaru expects U.S. sales to climb 25 percent to 631,000 units this fiscal year, making the top models easier to get if the Japanese automaker can increase production.

In a challenging new model environment with few new cars on Subaru of America's lots, the automaker remains in the top ten car brands for customer consideration. It moves up one percentage point from earlier this year.

The best news is that Subaru expects a dramatic uptick in the next six months, with production returning to pre-pandemic levels of 540,000 units globally in the second half of the October-March fiscal. This would relieve the demand for the 2023 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek, and customers could see more new models arrive next spring.

You Might Also LikeThe 2023 Subaru Model Outlook And What Customers Should Know Before You Buy

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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Photo credit: main image Subaru WPB


Guest (not verified)    November 11, 2022 - 7:15PM

In reply to by DR (not verified)

That’s quite a claim to make, especially since the brand is famous for safety.

Aside from the recent struggles with the revamped side crash-tests (which, we can guess they will be addressing ASAP), what evidence do you have for this?

I drove an Outback from 2012 - 2020 and had zero problems with it except the occasional dead battery, which I would have had with any car.

I bought a Mazda c-5 to replace it a couple years ago, and not a day goes by when I don’t miss it terribly…

…but also bc I was under the illusion that it’s an extraordinarily safe car?

So any info you have to the contrary would be appreciated!

mark mccleary (not verified)    November 12, 2022 - 12:12AM

In reply to by DR (not verified)

I would really like to know where you received this information from?
As a technician for the manufacturer for 28 years... you cannot find a better product for the price or safety features it offers. Subaru has achieved 5 stars for many years and in the process saving lives. If you actually knew what went into the engineering of the product, you would say otherwise.

Harold in NC (not verified)    November 17, 2022 - 10:13PM

In reply to by DR (not verified)

I am living proof that my Subaru Forester saved my life. I was hit in an intersection by a driver that ran a red light. Was hit at 50 MPH. Every airbag went off instantly. I rolled 4 times. My injury was a bruise on the top of my head, but I lived and was shaken but intact. Crumple zones all worked. The roof rack was still usable but every side of the car was damaged I still only buy Subarus.

Al Blum (not verified)    November 10, 2022 - 6:22PM

We have a 2014 Outback with "eyesight". We absolutely love it. Our next vehicle will be an Ascent. Our Subaru is the best vehicle we've ever had.

Jmoney (not verified)    November 13, 2022 - 5:30AM

In reply to by Al Blum (not verified)

I also bought a brand new Ascent a few months ago and hands down it is the best vehicle purchase I’ve ever made. Safety is of the utmost importance with all Subaru vehicles and in some instances they seem to go above and beyond with safety (not that it’s a bad thing). Somebody must be upset that they were unable to secure financing with Subaru lol

Rhonda Wheatley (not verified)    November 11, 2022 - 7:15AM

I had 3 Subaru Outbacks I will only drive them. Never had and problems with them. I love my Subaru Outback!

JC (not verified)    November 11, 2022 - 8:25AM

We have a 2014 forester. Favorite vehicle so far however at 125000 miles started burning oil. Now we have to add a quart about every 1000 miles. After reading several articles found that is a common problem with their engines. I will probably not consider another. Found that they would repair if it had less mileage however if that is an ongoing problem which it is they should fix the problems instead of continuing using with this same engine. Our car never wrecked and garage kept so in excellent condition except for this. My son is driving, so we will re build the engine but not purchase a 6000 dollar one from Subaru because it is their fault.

JOEM (not verified)    November 13, 2022 - 11:16AM

In reply to by JC (not verified)

Don’t replace the engine. Part of the consumption is they use 0-w20 oil for efficiency. Research other options for oil on Forester Forums. If you get. NAPA synthetic oil on sale $3-$4 per 1000 miles is cheap compared to $6000. You can by a lot of our for $6000 and change the oil less frequently since you are constantly adding it.
Also, if you do replace it Jasper Engines are great. Use one of their installation partners.

Ray Jensen (not verified)    November 11, 2022 - 8:34AM

It's a shame..and for a major's inexcusable. We own a 2021 Ascent Limited, and in one year, we have put over 20,000 miles on it. It has been solid, reliable as he'll, and zero aggravation. A great car. For Subaru to basically kill their dealers with no supply, and in turn, for their "family and dog friendly" dealers to bend over their loyal customer base by whacking them $3,000.00 OVER full sticker for cars is grounds to go out of business. Subaru needs a total management shakeup in the United States from the top down immediately. It's time...before another great, practical product falls victim to moronic management both in Corporate and in the majority of their dealers.

garyb0129 (not verified)    November 12, 2022 - 8:33AM

In reply to by Ray Jensen (not verified)

I work at a Subaru dealership in upstate New York and our owner will NOT sell any new vehicle over MSRP. so be careful who you buy from. too many owners are short-sighted and trying to grap a fast buck while supplies are low

A lor (not verified)    November 12, 2022 - 8:46AM

In reply to by Ray Jensen (not verified)

3,000 isn’t a bad markup at all right now. Ford is marking up 30,000. When there is demand but limited supply you can expect some markup. Subaru and Chevy have both put caps on their markups as well as fines to dealerships not honoring it.

Robin (not verified)    November 13, 2022 - 2:09PM

In reply to by Ray Jensen (not verified)

If purchasing any vehicle, we recommend going through the Costco auto program. We did and save a bunch and even received a voucher worth $500 to buy add ons! We also didn't have to play the nuber games with the salespeople.

Starly (not verified)    November 12, 2022 - 11:27AM

In reply to by Barbara Stephan (not verified)

I'm in this conversation. My vehicle is not as new as 2005 Tribeca. And I actually bought with low mileage 165,000. I drive a lot out of town so it's up on miles now but I had to fix a little transmission issue when I bought used they failed to tell me about spent 800.00 but now little SUV is so dependable. I will buy a newer one. Top 10 ,who says This?

Dave (not verified)    November 13, 2022 - 7:17AM

In reply to by Barbara Stephan (not verified)

I gathered it was related to demand of Subaru vehicles. The company can't keep up with demand so potential customers are purchasing brands instead that are in stock and ready to go. Basically, they're not in the top ten because they're in such high demand they have no inventory to sell.

Brent Retherford (not verified)    November 11, 2022 - 11:01AM

We own a 2016 Forester that we ordered from the factory. We recently bought a 2022 Ascent. I can tell you several reasons why we chose Subaru over ALL the other companies. #1 A friend is a mechanic for Hertz rental. He said Subaru is the ONLY brand they rarely do work on. So extreme reliability. #2. Safety, Quality, Resale value. They are one of the best out there, if not the best. #3 Pricing. We looked at all kinds of Brands and models in 2016 and 2022. Both were the best deal we found each time. Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo all more money. It was a no brainer choice for us. We live in NW IL and get snow almost every winter. The Subarus ALL wheel drive has worked great and never once faltered. I'm getting 29.5mpg with the Forester and 25.1 With the Ascent. We recently took the Ascent to Florida and NOLA and got over 27mpg. We won't even look at other companies from here on out. No reason to leave Subaru. They in our eyes are the best!!!

JB (not verified)    November 11, 2022 - 12:03PM

We have a 2018 and 2021 Outback. The 2021 replaced an identical 2020 that saved my wife's life when hit by an uninsured drunk Driver. I will replace the 2018 with an Ascent. Subaru family for life now.

Empathy (not verified)    November 15, 2022 - 12:25PM

In reply to by JB (not verified)

I'm glad that your wife is alright!!! That's such a terrible and traumatic event to go through. But it sounds like her Subaru Outback did what it's designed to do, protect the occupants. I'd rather total a brand new vehicle and survive an accident. That's what insurance is for! I hope the drunk driver also survived and is in jail and a rehab program!

Michael Eckstein (not verified)    November 12, 2022 - 12:01AM

We bought a used 2020 Subaru Outback11,000 miles, five months ago. Just this week we started having battery problems. Seems there is a problem that all the electronics causes battery drain. Battery unable to recharge. Jump start and run to recharge, shut off motor, battery won’t start motor. Current battery is 5 months old. Google 2020 Outback/battery problems and read about the problem repeatedly. No recalls, just denials of problems and class action lawsuits. No solutions or fixes for our vehicles. Just stuck with this lemon. Buyers beware! Subarus suck.

Spice (not verified)    December 19, 2022 - 12:44AM

In reply to by Michael Eckstein (not verified)

I had the same battery drain for months. Had it is shop multiple times. Finally they seen the problem and replaced the back hatch module. So far so good. I also received info from attorneys on this problem with the Outback.

Mike k (not verified)    November 12, 2022 - 7:34AM

As Toyota started long ago, Subaru has a long term plan for stedy controlled growth. They are the best bang for the buck, I believe by far. They aren't looking to sell the most cars, just the best for the money. Only BMW has a better all wheel drive system. My families Subarus have all (way more than I can keep track of) been amazingly trouble free! They're biggest problem by far are leaky head gaskets on the 2.5 engine.

JGee (not verified)    November 13, 2022 - 5:58AM

Subaru is a very popular vehicle in the Virginia/Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. So many government sheeple workers buy them to sit in bumper to bumper traffic waiting to go to their non essential federal jobs all the while exclaiming how special they are! The exact reason why I’d never own one.

Ray (not verified)    November 13, 2022 - 6:41AM

I USED to love my Subaru Forrester. It is five years old and has 110,000 miles. Now it leaks oil and the roof developed a leak around the roof rack. Estimate for both repairs from the dealer is about $5,000 for both repairs. I contacted Subaru and they offered $1,500 on $5,000 worth of defects. NOPE!! Never a Subaru again - good when they are good but really bad when bad!! Trading it in for a Toyota.