AWD is sizzling hot at Subaru, what’s wrong with the icy rear drive BRZ?
Subaru of America is riding high with a stellar sales streak that is outperforming all other automakers. Subaru has created a niche market with their all-wheel-drive recreation-purposed lineup. They only have one rear-drive vehicle in their lineup, the BRZ sports coupe and it’s the only Subaru vehicle with negative sales for 2015. All other models have notably strong sales increases but the BRZ is down 39.6 percent for the year.
A Subaru representative recently told me that BRZ was never intended to be a high-volume model. When Subaru and Toyota brought out the BRZ/FR-S twins in the U.S., sales were hot the first two years. Now the aging BRZ/FR-S has reached its limit with the number of buyers looking for an affordable sports car. Consumers are interested in crossovers and SUVs and that market is hot in North America.
The SUV-alternative 2015 Subaru Outback wagon, 2015 Forester SUV, 2015 XV Crosstrek crossover are all having stellar sales for the brand. All three had the best sales ever in the month of May. These are the vehicles a new generation of buyers are interested in. The provide all-wheel-drive all-weather capability and offer recreation-purposed use for an active generation.
2015 Outback is a hot model in the lineup
Subaru dealers can’t keep up with the demand for the new Subaru Outback wagon and have few on their lots for consumers to choose from. “The Outback was the fourth most-shopped model in the U.S. last month and our shopping levels in general are at their highest levels ever” said Jeff Walters, senior vice president of sales, Subaru of America, Inc.
What’s next for BRZ?
Subaru knew the BRZ would not be a high-volume model. The BRZ is due for a refresh and Subaru Japan is getting ready to launch another BRZ tS that is tuned by Subaru Tecnica International (STI) the performance and motorsport division of Subaru. To create new excitement for the sports coupe around the globe, Subaru will need to upgrade the current model with more performance features.
The new Sunrise Yellow 2016 BRZ will come with special upgrades on the body, underneath and inside the cabin. Outside it features an STI aero kit, front under spoiler and 18-inch custom STI wheels wrapped in Michelin PSS performance tires. Underneath, tBRZ is upgraded with an STI suspension, STI Sport exhaust, large diameter driveshaft, Bilstein shocks, STI springs and Brembo brakes on the corners...read more.
Subaru announced at the New York Auto show earlier this year, that STI will expand their influence in the U.S. with more STI tuned production cars like the Japan-only BRZ tS and Forester tS. The 2016 BRZ tS could be what North American performance fans can expect to see in the next two years. Even though the rear drive BRZ sports coupe performs well on the street and track, it’s performing poorly in the showroom. Look for Subaru to update BRZ in the U.S. with new STI performance upgrades that will excite fans again.