Subaru of America is not the largest automaker selling the most vehicles. They don't compete for having the most vehicles sold in the U.S., but they do outshine other car brands in significant areas that make a difference for their customers. Here are eight ways other car brands wish they were like Subaru.
Who has the most loyal customers? Subaru has consistently ranked among the top automakers in customers who return to buy another Subaru model. Among mainstream (non-luxury) car brands, Subaru is the third best and ahead of rivals Toyota and Honda.
A recent report from Edmunds says three Subaru SUVs are among the ten most popular models this year; the 2023 Subaru Outback midsize SUV, the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek subcompact SUV, and the 2023 Subaru Forester compact SUV are the most popular.
Another report from Automotive News (by subscription) and a study from S&P Global research say Subaru's first-time customers, or "nomads," are returning to buy another Subaru vehicle. And the Japanese automaker now ranks among the top four mainstream brands.
Subaru has eleven models currently available in the U.S. that have received IIHS Top Safety Pick awards. What does it mean for new car shoppers? Subaru says they want to be the overall safety leader among U.S. automakers. They are achieving their goal because, since 2013, Subaru has received 66 Top Safety Pick+ awards, more than any other brand. (as of October).
Subaru says they aim to have zero fatal vehicle accidents by 2030. That does sound ambitious, but they will do it with the next-generation EyeSight safety technology they are currently working on.
Best Fuel Efficiency
The EPA released its new 2022 Automotive Trends Data report that details fuel-mileage results and finds Subaru's lineup of the 2023 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, and other all-wheel-drive models ranks the best in U.S. automaker's fleets. Subaru improved from the 2021 EPA report last year and ranked the Japanese automaker number two.
How fuel efficient is Subaru's fleet of all-wheel-drive vehicles? According to EPA's new report, the average new car purchased in 2021 managed 25.4 mpg. The report says the Subaru lineup of the Crosstrek, Forester, Outback, Ascent, and other all-wheel-drive models average 28.8 mpg.
Best Winter Vehicles For Snow and Ice
In two separate rankings of the best cars and SUVs for driving in the snow and who has the best all-wheel-drive vehicles, Subaru scored the 2023 Forester, 2023 Outback, and 2023 Impreza models.
Kelley Blue Book says the Forester and Outback are among the best new SUVs in the snow. A ranking from U.S. News says the Impreza and Outback are among the best all-wheel-drive cars and SUVs for winter driving.
What sets the Subaru brand apart from the competition? The Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent come with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, exceeding the competition. The Forester Wilderness (9.2 inches) and Outback Wilderness (9.5 inches) offer even more snow-clearing ground clearance.
The 2023 Subaru Forester, 2023 Outback, 2023 Crosstrek, and 2023 Ascent SUVs add another layer of winter driving capability. They all offer X-Mode for severe weather capabilities and dual-function X-Mode for all-terrain and extreme weather performance on some trim levels.
Dedicated Off-Road Branding
The Subaru brand has always attracted different customers who take their SUVs off-pavement. Before the Wilderness sub-brand arrived, Subaru dealers were getting into the modification business, offering customers off-road accessories and lift kits for more extreme adventures. But with the new Wilderness sub-brand models, they won't need them.
Subaru now offers the outdoor-themed 2023 Outback Wilderness, and 2023 Forester Wilderness trim levels for active customers who want to get further off the grid. The Crosstrek Wilderness will arrive within the next year, and there are reports that the Ascent 3-Row SUV will also get the Wilderness upgrades.
Sell From Their Pipeline With Little Inventory
How do Subaru of America retailers deal with the new car shortages during supply chain and microchip shortages? A recent report from Automotive News reveals it's familiar for Subaru of America as they have been used to tight vehicle supplies. Subaru retailers learned from years of selling supply-contained Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek to squeeze inventory by selling deeper into the production pipeline.
Subaru of America has always liked to keep its new model inventory low. Before the pandemic, Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll said, "We like to keep it low, and one less is better than one more."
Subaru Retailers Sell At or Near MSRP
Keeping inventory low allows Subaru to keep its incentives low and price its new models at or near the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Low inventory also helps Subaru keep its resale values the highest in the industry.
A recent report from Automotive News (by subscription) says Subaru retailers generally stick to MSRP. Patrick Wergin, chairman of the Subaru National Retailer Advisory Board, said that in keeping with the car brand's Love Promise, Subaru retailers generally stick to sticker prices.
In most cases, customers can expect to pay at or near MSRP for new models like the 2023 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, Outback, Ascent, and other new all-wheel-drive models.
The Highest Resale Values In the Auto Industry
Subaru has been known for its models that depreciate less or hold their value better than other car brands. Which Subaru models retain their value the best, and which is the worst at keeping its value? According to Kelly Blue Book's (KBB) 2022 Best Resale Value Awards, Subaru earned three individual segment honors. The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Forester, and 2022 Subaru Outback won their segment as best.
How does Subaru differentiate itself from all other car brands?
Most people want different, especially Millennials, as their cars are an extension of their personality. Subaru doesn't have the best cars in the world, but they have vehicles with character and an attitude going. The Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, Ascent, and even the WRX sports car are refreshing and are the exact opposite of sameness. What is Subaru's formula for success? Subaru has more than a good PR machine; they are building cars that communicate "interesting and cool" without actually saying it.
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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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