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Hybrids - The Wave Of The Present, Did Subaru Miss It?

Electric vehicles are the wave of the future, but Hybrid vehicles are the wave of the present. Subaru is about to catch the wave, but is it too late?

Catching The Wave 

If you aren't ready to make the leap and buy an all-electric vehicle, you aren't alone. New car buyers are embracing hybrids as a comfortable and relevant alternative to gas-powered vehicles. 

Subaru is about to catch the hybrid wave with its first hybrid model since the discontinued Crosstrek hybrid. This next-generation Forester Hybrid compact SUV, set to make its U.S. dealer launch next year, promises to be a game-changer. For more detailed insights, you can read my report here.

It's a good move for Subaru because Hybrid vehicles, unlike electric cars, are not subject to 'range anxiety'-the fear of running out of power before reaching a charging station. This, along with the absence of charging infrastructure limitations and the drop in the value of electric cars, makes hybrids a more practical choice for many consumers. 

Is Subaru too late for the hybrid party?

According to industry expert Cloud Theory, it is clear that while hybrids will serve as a bridge to a more mature electric vehicle future, they are also acting as the 'wave of the present'. Cloud Theory, a renowned automotive industry analyst, has been at the forefront of predicting industry trends.

Imagine if Subaru had a new 2025 Forester compact SUV hybrid, Outback midsize SUV Hybrid, Crosstrek subcompact SUV Hybrid, and Ascent 3-Row family hauler Hybrid now?

They could be reaping the benefit of the current automotive climate. 

Cloud Theory has written extensively about the electric vehicle market, notably in its comprehensive eBook "Charging Ahead: Hybrids Come into Sharper Focus as EV Aspirations Meet Reality." 

The report provides an in-depth analysis of how changes in regulatory requirements and timelines have significantly impacted OEMs' planning for and investment in their vehicle lineups. 

Cloud Theory says, "Those regulatory shifts not only lowered 2032 EV production targets from 67% to 35% but also created a pathway for hybrid vehicles to play a more prominent role in the industry's eco-friendly future."

Hybrids are already well entrenched in many OEM portfolios, and others like Subaru Corporation are moving to bolster their offerings in response to these new parameters. 

Here's The Proof

Cloud Theory data reveals that in the latest 30 days, hybrid vehicles have significantly higher turn rates, lower days-to-move timeframes, and a better Inventory Efficiency Index score (which measures whether a make, model, or fuel type is getting its fair market share given its relative inventory position in the marketplace) than gas-powered and electric vehicles.

Toyota is the leader in hybrid technology. Toyota made a bold move, as evidenced by the Hybrid-only 2025 Camry sedan. It's the only Camry trim level available now for customers. 

Toyota's Newsroom website says, "Industry-leading hybrid technology has become synonymous with the Toyota brand, and the ninth-generation Camry brings its A-game." 

Subaru rides Toyota’s wave.

Subaru is tapping into Toyota's extensive experience and hybrid technology, and it will benefit from the giant automaker's vast resources. Subaru is a small player, only one-tenth the size of Toyota. So, it's wise for them to do it. 

The all-new next-generation Forester Hybrid will use a hybrid system developed with Toyota. Some details have emerged. Subaru's chief engineer recently talked about its new hybrid tech. You can read my report here.

The Hybrid wave surprised Ford

Ford CEO Jim Farley told Automotive News in an article, "A year ago, we weren't covering the cost premium for hybrids with the price that customers paid us. We are now. Customers are voting. They like these in-between solutions."

Subaru is behind the hybrid curve now, but they can still catch it. 

The Subaru Forester Hybrid will catch the wave as electric vehicles have cooled significantly. It's not just one wave Subaru has missed, and then it's gone. The Hybrid wave will likely continue for many years.

Subaru's concern is whether it can launch a new Outback Hybrid, Crosstrek Hybrid, or Ascent Hybrid quickly enough.

The Good News 

The good news is that Subaru can now build those hybrid trim levels in its U.S. plant in Lafayette, Indiana. Read my report about Forester production moving from Japan to Subaru of Indiana Automotive

Those Subaru hybrid models are at least two years away. The demand for hybrids will continue. 

Cloud Theory's data reveals a promising trend-the hybrid Inventory Efficiency Index score of 137 indicates a strong and sustained demand for hybrids. This is a clear indication that hybrids are not just a passing trend but a significant player in the current automotive landscape.

Cloud Theory says, "And the good news is that, as evidenced by the hybrid Inventory Efficiency Index score of 137, there is excess demand to soak up that supply growth. A wave of the present, indeed."

Your insights could shape future discussions on the hybrid market.

Subaru is about to launch its new Forester Hybrid compact SUV. We're interested to know your thoughts. Would you be more likely to buy a Forester with a hybrid trim level? Click the red 'Add New Comment' link below and let us know. 

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Subaru


Kate (not verified)    June 18, 2024 - 4:36PM

Hi, I appreciate your insights. Hybrids are very interesting to me. Im currently looking at a 2023 Crosstrek Hybrid. The Forester Hybrid is interesting, but I may not want to wait that long. Additionally, I probably need the economy of a slightly used vehicle. Would it be a mistake to buy the '23 hybrid, since they no longer offer that trim/model?

MadLady (not verified)    June 18, 2024 - 5:14PM

I’ve owned 3 Outbacks. I was in need of a new car. Opted for a Tucson hybrid as Subaru didn’t have a hybrid option. Their loss.

Tom Hessel (not verified)    June 20, 2024 - 9:46AM

I don't get it. I've driven hybrids and the only time they go electric is when sitting at idle or backing up. Add the additional weight of batteries and electric motor to the car. How much fuel are you really saving. I had a bad experience with the hybrid crosstrek. Transmissions and warning lights are an issue. They sold so few of them that their factory trained technicians are not much help.
Shifting gears, CVT transmissions, is there truly only one manufacturer of these transmissions? Why can't you buy parts to rebuild these transmissions? The only parts you can buy are basically used. Its a joke!
Tom Hessel
St. Louis mo

Suzzie Thomas (not verified)    June 21, 2024 - 6:52PM

I’d love a new Forester now. My 2019 is great, very low mileage, and best yet - it’s paid for. However, I had to buy that model year due to the “death” of my beloved 2000 Mercury Mountaineer. What my 2019 lacks is Apple Car Play and better breaks. I considered getting a new one this year for the A/C seats, but will hold off for the Hybrid. That will be worth the wait!