Skip to main content

An Insider View, What Subaru Dealers Are Complaining About

Subaru dealers are complaining, but what are their complaints? Here is an insider look at the recent Subaru dealer meeting in Las Vegas.

Join us...    

Subaru dealers, or retailers as the Camden, N.J. automaker calls them, come to the annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show to find out what's new, what's changing, and what setbacks they're facing. An inside report from Automotive News says, "Sometimes they applaud, and other times they grumble and plead for mercy."

Here is what Subaru dealers are talking about behind closed doors.

First, the Subaru meetings, referred to as NADA make meetings, are for Subaru retailers only and are off-the-record and not for public consumption. But some things leak out of the meetings that I cover annually. 

Subaru salesman at Timmons Subaru

photo credit: Timmons Subaru

Automotive News says, "Behind closed doors, dealers hear firsthand what automakers plan for the year ahead. They get a chance to ask questions about decisions and strategies and gauge their franchise's direction."

"At a moment when the entire industry is getting firmly back on its feet, Subaru dealers heard what they wanted to hear from the Camden, N.J. automaker.”

The outlook for Subaru of America

The Automotive News report says Subaru anticipates 680,000 U.S. sales this year, which would be the brand's best year since it sold 700,117 vehicles in 2019. If Subaru of America can pull that off, it's quite an improvement.

Subaru service rep with a customer

photo credit: Timmons Subaru

Jeff Williams, chairman of the Subaru National Retailer Advisory Board and vice president of Williams AutoWorld near Lansing, Michigan, told Automotive News that Subaru's dealers came to the convention celebrating "the lowest number of recalls we've ever had as a brand" in 2023.

Check this new story, where I will cover all of Subaru's recalls in 2023. 

What are U.S. Subaru retailers complaining about?

Subaru dealers in the U.S. have had serious concerns over the lack of new model inventory. The Subaru Forester compact SUV and Crosstrek subcompact SUV have been in the tightest supply and the hardest to find for customers. Subaru retailers want that to change.

Subaru has had several issues recently concerning recalls of specific models. It's a concern for Subaru retailers. Quality affects the dealers because customers are not happy. The biggest issue now is the Starlink multimedia system. Numerous problems have surfaced in new models like the Outback. I have covered the problem in multiple reports.

A happy Subaru dealer with a Forester

photo credit: Adventure Subaru

The Good News from Subaru

Subaru dealers heard what they wanted to hear from the factory. The brand's production interruptions of the past few years, caused by microchip shortages, logistics snafus, and quality glitches, are now resolved, and product availability will not be a problem in 2024.

Subaru builds the 2024 Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, and Legacy in Lafayette, Indiana, and things are improving. 

Automotive News says those at the Subaru meeting also heard dealer support for Subaru's electrification plans, which are deeply intertwined with its corporate partner, Toyota Motor. Those plans include using a Toyota hybrid system in the redesigned 2025 Forester and new electric vehicles, such as an Ascent-sized three-row crossover that will be built by Toyota in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Subaru dealers' complaints about quality control issues and inventory problems are being resolved and should improve in 2024, according to Subaru of America. Dealers came away encouraged for what's next in the new year. 

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed the Subaru dealer story. See you tomorrow for my latest Subaru Report.

For additional articles related to new Subaru models, here are a few of my top stories you may enjoy. 

My Must-Read Top Picks

Watch All-New 2025 Subaru Forester First Look // What do you think of the design?

I am Denis Flierl, a 12-year Torque News senior writer with 20+ years of Subaru and automotive journalism experience. I enjoy bringing you, the Subaru fans and customers, the most up-to-date Subaru news, reviews, and new model information. You'll find the latest Subaru stories on the Subaru page. Follow me on my The Dirty Subaru website, Dirty Subaru blogSubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

I’ve got you covered! - I cover all Subaru all the time - It’s called the “Subaru Report.” Check back daily for my expert Subaru analysis!

Please leave your comments below, share the article with friends, and post X to your followers! 

photo credit: main image Adventure Subaru

Join us...