The Next-Gen Subaru WRX Is Dying Fast - Here's What Will Quickly Bring It Back
When Subaru announced the next-generation 2022 WRX performance sedan, it was met with mixed reactions of some excitement and even more disappointment. The SUV-like fender flares, only a three-horsepower gain, and no hatchback body style were just a few of the criticisms.
Sales of the all-new 2022 WRX have been down since its U.S. launch, when sales should be up. When any new model makes its dealer debut, sales usually go up with the new model. Subaru of America reports in June, the next-generation WRX saw another significant drop in sales, down 37.8 percent. Subaru reports that 1,465 2022 WRX models were delivered to customers last month compared with 2,354 in June 2021.
Subaru of America has only sold 6,212 WRX sports cars through the first six months of 2022, down from the 14,272 sold through six months of 2021. That's a drop of 56.5 percent.
Bring back the WRX hatchback
Subaru needs a WRX hot hatch to generate new interest in the next-generation WRX. Get rid of the fender flares, give it more horsepower, and add a hatchback trim level to the WRX lineup. Subaru would be wise to return the WRX hatch since the Japanese automaker killed the performance-tuned STI model.
Subaru needs to keep interest in the WRX high after they ripped out the heart of performance enthusiasts by dropping the performance-tuned WRX STI. A new 2023 Subaru WRX with a hatchback body style would generate further excitement for the sport-tuned sports car.
Why did Subaru drop the popular hatchback WRX/STI in 2015? If you ask Subaru, it was because of slow sales. Mamoru Ishii, the head of Subaru's design department, told Digital Trends at the Geneva Motor Show, "We don't have plans to bring back a WRX hatch to the market."
According to Subaru's sales numbers, sixty percent of WRX and STI sales were hatchback models before they dropped the model.
Subaru of America will likely not bring the 2022 WRX hatch to the U.S., recently launched in Japan and Australia. It's the Levorg with a WRX badge and only comes with a CVT automatic transmission. The 6-speed manual gearbox is a must for the WRX in North America.
A hatch has an important place in the performance car lineup and offers improved utility and cargo-carrying ability. Over the CVT automatic, 90 percent of WRX buyers opt for the 6-speed manual transmission. It's no surprise because Subaru uses a Continuously Variable automatic transmission (CVT) which is not a popular choice with performance enthusiasts.
The next-generation 2022 WRX would benefit from a hatch body style with dropping sales. We think Subaru should bring it back, or at least offer the Levorg WRX hatch in the U.S. In the comments below, let Subaru know if you want them to bring back the WRX hatch in 2023. We will pass on your comments to Subaru of America.
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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: main image Budds Subaru