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Something Never Seen Before Is Happening At Subaru, A Seismic Shift

I wrote earlier that a perfect storm is gathering over Subaru. Now, a seismic shift has occurred. Customers need to ask themselves this now: Is it best for the customer or best for Subaru?

The perfect storm gathering over Subaru cut loose with a torrent—what I would call a seismic shift. You can now get the best deals on a new Subaru Forester and Outback, two of Subaru's most popular models. But that’s not all.

You can even get 0% interest now on select models, which was unheard of at Subaru except during the pandemic four years ago. But that's not the most significant change at Subaru of America.

In 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic, all automakers offered 72 months or even 84 months of financing to move cars off their lots. But not Subaru of America.

Subaru of America Was Different Than Other Automakers

I wrote then that Subaru of America would only offer financing for up to 63 months, and they didn't. In 2020, then-President and CEO of Subaru of America Tom Doll explained why they didn't offer the same 72-month or even 84-month financing as other automakers. 

Doll said they look out for the customer now because they will see them in 4 or 5 years when they return to trade their all-wheel-drive vehicle.

He said it's not good for the customer if they offer longer deals like some automakers, going beyond 63 months. "When they return, we want to ensure they have trade equity. We don't want them to owe more than the car is worth, or their payments will be too high."

The Seismic Shift In Policy At Subaru 

At the time, I thought Subaru really cared more about its customers than selling cars. Subaru's motto, "We Are More Than A Car Company," rang true. 

Subaru of America now has a new CEO and President, and a seismic shift has occurred. Subaru of America retailers offer financing for longer than 63 months. 

The Best New Subaru Deals Ever? 

Customers can now get 0% percent financing for 72 months on a new 2023 or 2024 Solterra EV. Subaru even says no down payment is required. 

Ray Shefska at CarEdge says, "Subaru's first EV is also offered at 0% APR, but very slow charging makes it a tough car for road trips."

Subaru is desperate now to move the Solterra because customers are concerned that its range is only 227 miles between charges, the fourth-shortest of any new EV. The Solterra is also Subaru's most expensive model, and they need to get customers' payments as low as possible. It works, but what's the actual cost to the customer? 

The point is that when those Subaru Solterra customers who paid zero down come back in three or four years and want a newer Subaru, they won't have any equity in their Solterra. EV prices are dropping now, and the car's value will likely be upside down.

Ray Shefska at CarEdge says the moment you drive an EV off the dealer's lot, it drops 47%. Shefka says, "Since September 2022, the average used electric car price has tumbled from $63,069 to $33,645. That is a 47% loss of value in a little over a year and a half."

CarEdge says, "The only folks who should be buying new EVs right now are those who plan to keep them for a long time. Otherwise, buying an EV is a very risky financial decision if there's a chance you'll be looking to sell anytime soon."

So, Solterra buyers should hold onto the EV for at least as long as the loan term (6 years) and possibly longer. It doesn't sound like a good car purchase to me. And there have been more changes in company policy.

A First For Any Subaru Model

There is a first-ever for the Subaru Forester, Outback, And WRX. All three now offer 72-month financing. 

The 2025 Subaru Forester is arriving now at U.S. retailers, and Subaru needs to move all remaining 2024 Foresters. You can read my report on the special next-generation 2025 Forester financing here.

Subaru of America offers 72-month financing on the hot Subaru Forester compact SUV. Subaru offers Forester financing with a 2.9% APR for 72 months. The payment is $319/month for 36 months, with $2,760 due. No down payment is required. 

The Camden, N.J. automaker offers 72-month financing on the popular Subaru Outback midsize SUV: 2.9% APR financing for 72 months with no down payment required. 

You can also get the 2024 Subaru WRX with 1.9% APR Financing for 72 Months. 

Subaru Changed It's Position

Subaru has reconsidered whether it is wise to offer its customers 72-month financing. The 2024 Subaru Forester, Outback, Solterra, and WRX all offer it. 

Subaru of America's new chairman and CEO is Tadashi Yoshida. The new President and Chief Operating Officer is Jeff Walters.

Tom Doll recently left Subaru of America after serving as an advisor and "helping leadership transition to the next generation." He officially retired in January of this year. And that's when company policy changed. 

I wondered: Is the new Subaru of America leadership more interested in the customer or selling more cars? What is former President and CEO Tom Doll thinking right now? 

A seismic shift in Subaru's company policy has occurred. Is it best for the customer, or is it best for Subaru? 

Do you like the more extended financing options? Have you been upside down because of a long-term car loan? Click the red Add New Comment link below and join the discussion. 

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News and Subaru 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 of America


Karen Wallace (not verified)    May 25, 2024 - 11:37AM

I really enjoy your articles. July 2016, bought an Impreza, a premium (because I couldn’t afford the limited) trim. My first Subaru, had always wanted to get one!! Guess because they were getting ready to dump all old inventory to make room for the 2017 remodel got a great deal ($19,200) even put on fog lights for me and gave me 1.9% for “48” months but when I called Subaru Finance through Chase Bank they said I had 1.9% rate for 72 months! This allowed me to pay it off in 60 months so it may not have been a nationwide promo but it’s been offered to me and several others that I told about and they ended up buying their first Subarus. Of course this was pre pandemic rates, 2017-2019. During the pandemic they barely had inventory to sell and the financial situation was horrid, financing a car (new or old) was not a good idea. Tried to buy a Crosstrek in 2021& 2022 but couldn’t get a new one so I waited. Still earlier this year and even though I can be considered a “well qualified” buyer when I went back to Subaru Finance to buy my 2024 CTW earlier this year it was crickets… So I gave one of my credit unions the business (best offer was for 4.91% for 72 months) and I had to travel over 500 miles to another state (MA) to buy it and drove it back but I got another excellent deal ($33,945). I’m in northern Virginia and that price is still hard to beat especially with the little extras included. Stillhave the Impreza (no sense in trading it in), it’s been a great reliable commuter car, it’s got 165k runs great and besides the brake light and key getting stuck, which they fixed gratis it hasn’t had any problems with CVT or oil leaks. I’m planning to keep my CTW well past the trade in period, hopefully it’s just as reliable as my first Subie. Thanks for letting me share!

Dave Casey (not verified)    May 26, 2024 - 7:00AM

I own Subaru,s for well over 30 years. I live in the snowy Western Mass and I love the all-wheel-drive. I like the quality of the cars that I have owned. I presently owned 18 Crosstrek I have a Subaru auto tech who has his own business.. It’s 60,000 miles and 70,000 miles. I lost both rear wheel bearings assemblies and now my TP monitors system is starting to fault. My mechanic says they installation has slipped a little tire pressure monitor systems are nice to have a $75 valve stem assembly is ridiculous and a thrill I don’t need, so I do like I did when I was in high school. I checked my tire pressure manually. I love the car, but I think the quality control has slipped.

Syed saqlain (not verified)    May 27, 2024 - 12:33AM

Subaru lost my trust never recommend anyone.I will never go for this . If you need service they rip you off blind .because they have to make money any how anyway.Don’t get service in Dallas or suburbs

Xenios Marckx (not verified)    May 30, 2024 - 10:50PM

Most who buy a Soltera do not need Subaru to worry about their ability to afford their next car.
Also, the bad economy is preventing people from buying a new car when used are extremely expensive, so the argument for a little bit longer loan terms might be good. What should be questioned is companies selling not particularly well made cars with much longer terms than Subaru allows! Kindness and care are relative to context!