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Life After The STI - Subaru Made A Huge Mistake And They Know It

In its ongoing rollercoaster ride, the 2022 Subaru WRX is up in sales in December. Even with its slight uptick, the WRX was down significantly last year. Check out the WRX year-end report, its direction for the new year, and why Subaru made a massive mistake in dropping the WRX STI.

How much does Subaru miss the STI? We now have a full year of next-generation WRX sales, and we can see the impact of discontinuing the performance-tuned Subaru WRX STI.

Subaru of America reports sales of the next-generation WRX are up in December amidst a rollercoaster ride this year. The WRX was up in July and August, and the next-generation Subaru WRX showed signs of life after the STI. But Subaru of America (SOA) reports sales significantly dropped in September and even more in October. In November, sales were up, and now it finished the year up in sales again.

2023 Subaru WRX

Subaru of America reports the next-generation WRX saw an increase of 7.8 percent in December, with 2,196 performance-tuned sedans delivered to customers. They sold 2,037 in December 2021.

Subaru of America sold 18,662 WRX sports cars in 2022, down 31.2 percent from the 27,141 sold through the twelve months of 2021. Without the performance-tuned STI to prop up sales, the WRX has the most significant percentage of decrease of any Subaru model in SOA's lineup.

2023 Subaru WRX

It was a mistake for Subaru to drop the WRX STI

The 31.2 percent drop represents a portion of the number of STI models that would have likely sold if Subaru still had the performance-tuned STI sedan. The new WRX sales this year are about what would be expected on its own merits without the STI.

But the WRX STI was the flagship of Subaru's performance brand, and its value was worth more than Subaru could have realized. Subaru Corporation dropped the STI too soon. The all-electric WRX STI eco-performance car is still years away.

2023 Subaru WRX

What's next for the WRX?

The WRX will get some significant changes and upgrades in the 2025-2026 model year when it's due for a refresh. Subaru Corporation will make minor improvements to the 2024 WRX. In the fourth year of its life cycle, Subaru will give the 2025 WRX a refresh with design upgrades outside and inside. The 2025-2026 models could also get engine upgrades with a slight increase in horsepower. Stay tuned.

Performance fans are hoping Subaru of America brings back the WRX hatchback, but there are no indications from Subaru Corporation this will happen. The only hatchback WRX available now is the Japanese-spec model introduced last year. Subaru of America could decide to bring it to North America.

Subaru Corporation chose to drop the Impreza sedan and now offers the next-generation Impreza hatchback as the only body style. It will be good if the Japanese automaker does the same with the WRX sports car.

What's next for the WRX STI?

Subaru says they dropped the STI to develop a new all-electric performance model. The testing is underway now, but it's not coming anytime soon.

Instead of dropping the WRX STI, Subaru Corporation should have designed the next-generation performance cars with a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine like the WRX, with 325-350 horsepower for performance enthusiasts, while they developed a new electric powertrain.

When will performance enthusiasts see the new WRX STI?

Subaru Corporation could take five to eight years to return to the STI performance sports car. It will look very different and be either all-electric, have hybrid technology, or have an internal combustion engine under the hood scoop that runs on a new synthetic fuel. Subaru is looking into all possibilities.

What's coming for the 2023 WRX?

Subaru of America announced the sports car gets a significant price increase for each trim level, and there are no changes.

What is the price of the 2023 WRX?

The 2023 WRX comes in four trim levels: Base, Premium, Limited, and GT. All 2023 WRX trim levels get a hefty $1,525 price increase, including destination and delivery fees.

The 2023 WRX 6-speed manual trim level starts at $31,625. The WRX with Subaru Performance Transmission (SPT) is $33,475, the WRX Premium 6-speed manual is $34,125, the WRX Premium SPT is $36,175, the WRX Limited 6-speed manual is $38,515, WRX Limited SPT is $40,765, and WRX GT is $44,415. Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($1,020).

When will the 2023 Subaru WRX arrive in the U.S.?

Subaru is still selling out the 2022 models, but Subaru of America will open orders for the 2023 models soon. The 2023 WRX comes to retailers this spring, so if you can still order the 2022 WRX, you should act quickly. It's the exact vehicle with no upgrades and costs $1,525 less.

Because Subaru Corporation dropped the WRX STI, the sport-tuned WRX has the most significant percentage of decrease of any model in Subaru of America's lineup. Subaru knows it was a big mistake dropping the STI.

If you didn't buy the next-generation WRX, was it because Subaru dropped the STI? Will you buy a WRX instead? Let Subaru know what you think in the comment section below.

You Might Also Like: Consumer Reports Says They Don't Recommend The Next-Gen Subaru WRX - Why They Are Wrong

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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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Reginald Sandiford (not verified)    January 10, 2023 - 9:07AM

I absolutely planned to buy a WRX STI this year. Then Subaru said they were dropping it. Then I was going to buy a Subaru Solterra. Buy an EV they said. It will be fun. What a disaster. We had (wheelgate) wheels falling off the Solterra and BZ4X. What a joke. Then delay after delay. Then Canda got the Solterra first. Then I was contacted and and told my Solterra would not be built till April or May after already waiting 13 months with no direct communication from Subaru. My dealership finally got one in after making the recall repairs. I test drove it and was extremely disappointed. It's literally and all electric Rav4. I'm so disappointed with Subaru. If they didn't make good quality products I would leave the brand. I drove out of the dealership with a 2023 Crystal Black Silica Outback Wilderness. I couldn't be happier!!! What and amazing vehicle. I recommend the Outback to any and everyone!!!

Robert Stave (not verified)    January 10, 2023 - 10:00AM

Subaru has lost their way. They used to design and produce interesting and powerful cars. No longer. The 2018 STI Type-RA I own will likely be my last Subaru.

Derp (not verified)    January 10, 2023 - 8:07PM

Subaru made multiple mistakes that are catching up to them. Starting with dropping the hatchback wrx. From there being too slow to keep up with competition in power and making the mistake that customers want handling etc instead of power. Dropping the hood scoop on the forester and outback XTs was also a mistake. Not making a turbo crosstrek is yet another mistake. No levorg in the us mistake.
Now im not saying we needed all these things... like you dont need a levorg if you have an outback with hood scoop and a crosstrek with turbo and hood scoop..

SUBARU, put that 2.4L Outback xt engine in a crosstrek with a hood scoop, make sure it can tow 2500 pounds and watch it fly off the lot. I'd take an inch drop over stock crosstrek too but thats optional. Come on subaru... redefine a hot hatch - rugged, useful, fast and fun.

Anthony (not verified)    January 10, 2023 - 9:16PM

They should have finally given us a new updated engine from the EJ, and one last STI. Basically all Japanese manufacturers are doing it. The “final send off” of internal combustion enthusiast cars before it all goes to sh** with electric and hybrid vehicles. Hear our cry Subaru.

keitharabia (not verified)    January 11, 2023 - 4:31AM

I'm a big fan of Subaru I own a 2003 WRX
( Bugeye ) and a 2015 STI when I saw the pictures of what the possible look of the new STI would look like I was excited I had made plans to buy one but when Subaru decided to not go forward with the new STI I was very upset the new WRX isn't enough . The STI is an amazing car and by them discontinuing it it changed my view about Subaru . Subaru needs to think about it's customer and where the heart of the customer is and that is rally racing even people that buy outbacks foresters and all the other models look at Subaru's rally heritage and a big portion of those buyers want a performance oriented car and the STI is the flagship that bring people in to buy the Subaru brand . From my viewpoint Subaru needs to listen to their customers that buy their cars because of their off-road racing heritage

Trevor (not verified)    January 11, 2023 - 9:57AM

I bought a 2016 WRX Limited 6 years ago off a lease with 3k miles on it. I thought I'd find a problem with the CVT.

While it's not manual, I do love it.

I will probably buy another WRX Limited GT with CVT in the future. To me eyesight is worth its weight, literally. It's saved my bacon.

Only wish the Limited with CVT had a STI wing and front Brembo option.

Anonraptor (not verified)    January 11, 2023 - 3:07PM

Subaru discontinued the STI because they knew they couldn't put out a performance car that met EPA requirements and competes with other manufacturers. They're so behind in the enthusiast category because all they focus on are the boring SUVs and crossovers. In my eyes Subaru is no longer an enthusiast brand. Toyota and Subaru basically traded places lol

Christian Haas (not verified)    January 12, 2023 - 3:56PM

I own a STI currently. I will never buy a regular WRX or electric car. If I can't buy a new STI when I am ready to again in the future I will just buy a used STI and rebuild the engine if I have too...

Christopher Hipple (not verified)    January 13, 2023 - 10:28AM

We will be due for a new vehicle in 1 year. 2 of the last 3 vehicles were WRX/STI. The loss of a hatch option was a disappointment but the look of the current WRX is a deal breaker.

Robert (not verified)    January 20, 2023 - 6:19PM

I was going to buy one. I wanted the sti but with the direct injection motor. When they dropped that I bought a slightly used sti.

Carl (not verified)    January 23, 2023 - 6:33PM

I was waiting for the STi and was really pissed off when they dropped it. The replacement in our market is the Hyundai i30N and have bought one of those instead.

Jimmy johnn (not verified)    March 22, 2023 - 1:25PM

NOPE. It's GONE forever, and good riddance!
Our PLANET is more important than your average dillhole driving a wrx.
THIS is your own faults, for taking off all those catalytic converters. LITERALLY. It's regulations and nothing more.

Mikeiver (not verified)    November 24, 2023 - 10:05AM

Being the owner of a 2016 STI all I can say is that Subaru is just plain stupid! The future that is electrics has taken no insight to see coming and they chose to wait. Further they decided to drop the crown jewel of the entire line to free up cash to develop a replacement that may or may not show up in 5-8 years? STUPID! At present I have an electric car already that replaced and ICE auto. I like the fact that I don't have to wait an hour to charge a battery and can simply fuel up the car and go in five minutes. When the time comes to replace the STI I would have taken a very serious look at another STI. But Subaru has managed to kill the hope of replacing it with a more modern, powerful, and refined STI. To bad too, I would not have gawked at spending $50-60K on a top of the line STI. Clearly the higher ups there are idiots, ware blinders, and have the visor down blocking their vision. Love my STI, Subaru has pissed me off though!