Does Subaru Really Need A Hot Hatch? VW Golf R Sales Say No
The WRX STI hatch model has been gone for 5 years now, but performance fans still want Subaru Corp to bring back the 5-Door model. Subaru made the decision to ax the model when they introduced the next-generation 2015 model and it hasn’t hurt sales of the sport-tuned WRX or the performance-tuned WRX STI. Does Subaru really need a hot hatch?
Sales of the 2019 Subaru WRX STI sedan are down slightly (-9.1 percent) for the year, but how does the WRX/STI compare with the hot hatchback models, Volkswagen Golf R and the Honda Civic Type R? Subaru of America sold 2,079 WRX/STIs in the month of November and 26,313 of the sedans in 11 months in 2018.
VW Golf R
Surprisingly, Volkswagen of America sold only 116 Golf R hatchback models in November and just 3,380 units in 11 months in 2018. The much milder VW Golf GTI saw sales of 1,045 for November and 15,639 for the 11 months in 2018, still considerably less than the WRX/STI.
Honda Civic Type R
Unfortunately, American Honda does not report individual sales of the Civic Type R. They reported total Civic sales of 21,890 for November. We are just guessing, but if Honda sold around 5 percent (Type R) of the total Civics in November, that would be 1,094 of the hot hatches sold, also considerably less than the WRX/STI. Subaru seems to be doing just fine without the STI 5-Door Hatchback.
According to recent reports, Subaru design chief Mamoru Ishii says the Subaru WRX/STI hatch could be dead. We aren’t sure what Subaru has in mind for the VIZIV (“Vision for Innovation”) concept hatch, but this model hasn’t been approved and likely won’t ever see production. At the Geneva Motor Show, Ishii said: “We don’t have plans to bring back a WRX hatch to the market.”
Many Subaru WRX STI fans still want a 5-Door hatch for its greater utility and cargo-carrying ability. But sales numbers for the Volkswagen Golf R hot hatch and estimates for the Honda Civic Type R suggest the demand for the performance hatch isn’t enough to justify Subaru Corp to build one. Subaru of America is setting records with their all-wheel-drive SUV/Crossover lineup and execs are likely more interested in sales volume than keeping these 5-Door hatch customers happy. We will see when the new-generation WRX/STI arrives in 2020.
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Photo credit: Subaru USA