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Popular Subaru Forester Stalls While New Outback Is Now The Top Performer

The 2020 Subaru Forester sales have been up all year but stalls last month. The 2020 Subaru Outback continues its climb back up after a dismal start.


Subaru of America (SOA) is a bright spot in the Japanese automaker's global sales and roars back with the strongest month of the year. SOA reports a record October sales with retailers delivering 61,411 vehicles to customers, increasing 11 percent over last year. It's been a crazy year for the Subaru Forester and Outback models. Last month saw even more surprises in the Japanese automaker's lineup.

The popular Subaru Forester sales stalled for the first time this year as SOA reports 14,697 Forester sales compared with 15,910 last year, a 7.6 percent drop. Forester is still the only model with positive sales for the year up 1.0 percent. The surprising model again is the 2020 Outback wagon.

2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Outback

The redesigned Subaru Outback had its second month of climbing back with the highest increase of any model with 16,755 sales, an increase of 46 percent in October compared with the same month a year ago (11,506). Outback was the top-performing Subaru model by volume.

In September, SOA had another record month, again led by the Outback wagon with 17,023 sales, a 51 percent increase in September 2020 compared with the same month a year ago.

2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Outback

Subaru has ramped up production of the Outback in Lafayette, Indiana. Subaru retailers have more Outback models than Forester compact SUVs to sell and likely the reason for Outback's resurgence the last two months. The Subaru Forester manufactured in Gunma, Japan, production is slower to recover from COVID-19 shut down earlier in the year.

After a slow first half of 2020 due to the global pandemic, this is now the second month of 60,000+ vehicle sales (61,411) for the Camden, N.J. automaker. Subaru is still behind (-14.3 percent) last year's record pace with 497,971 year-to-date sales compared with 580,860 in 2019.

Another star in the lineup is the refreshed 2021 Crosstrek with the new 2.5-liter Boxer engine. Subaru positioned itself perfectly with the 2021 Crosstrek this fall as the subcompact SUV posted a record October with 14,994 sales, a 24 percent increase over the same month in 2019.

It's been a crazy year for the 2020 Subaru Forester and Outback models. Forester is still the overall leader in the stable with 148,779 sales year-to-date, and Outback is second, with 123,101 cars delivered to customers. The 2020 Subaru Outback is the biggest star in October and a surprise after a slow start to the year.

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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: Subaru, Adventure Subaru


Zach (not verified)    November 5, 2020 - 1:18PM

Whoever wrote this article doesn't really know anything on the backend. The Forester is still outselling the Outback. Do you want to know why Forester sales dipped? There was a hiccup in production/transportation and half the dealers in the U.S. just didn't get any Foresters to sell for almost a month. It's kind of hard to sell a vehicle when you don't have any. Another factor is Subaru is offering special financing on Outbacks to push them while they aren't for the Forester.