Subaru has created a niche market with its all-wheel-drive 2021 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs. The models represent the majority of Subaru of America's sales and are its core models. How is the Camden, N.J. automaker doing in the first half of 2021?
The good news first
The 2021 Subaru Forester is the sales leader with 95,965 models delivered to customers, and the compact SUV is up 11.8 percent for the first six months. The 2021 Outback is next, with 87,619 midsize SUVs delivered in 2021 and is up 40.6 percent. The hot 2021 Crosstrek is the third-best model with 64,214 sales through June and up 40.4 percent over 2021.
Subaru received numerous awards for Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek. The most notable: The 2021 Subaru Forester and 2021 Outback are picked by Consumer Reports as one of the ten best cars of the year, and the 2021 Crosstrek is one of the 10-Best SUVs of 2021.
The bad news
Subaru of America has had some big recalls in the first six months of 2021.
In January, the 2021 Subaru Outback and 2021 Subaru Impreza sedan and hatchback models were recalled. The NHTSA says both models are recalled for a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) shifter lever cable nut that may not be adequately tightened.
The big Subaru recall came in April when the automaker recalled Crosstrek and Impreza models for a faulty engine control module. Another recall for bolts on the rear stabilizer bracket on Forester and Crosstrek could come loose over time. The total of the two recalls included 871,200 models.
More bad news
The big news so far this year is Subaru is running out of new cars to sell. Subaru Report checked with a large Subaru retailer near Denver, and a source told us they have no Forester or Crosstrek models to sell to their customers.
Our source told us they have 39 new Subaru Forester compact SUVs in transit, and only two are not pre-sold. And the Foresters won't be delivered to customers until late July or mid-August. If you want a 2021 Subaru Forester Sport, it will be late August, early September before they are available.
It's the same for the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek. This Subaru retailer has no Crosstrek subcompact SUVs to sell, and they are pre-selling the popular model to customers still in transit from Japan. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport is not available until September.
It's not all Subaru's fault for the low inventory. COVID shut down production last year, and the global microchip shortage has shut down the Subaru plant in Gunma, Japan, where the Forester and Crosstrek are manufactured. Subaru Corporation will shut down the plant again on July 16 due to the chip shortage.
Subaru's strategy comes back to bite them
In an interview with Automotive News, Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll says they usually like to keep inventory low. "We like to keep it low, and one less is better than one more." But with both of Subaru's plants closed for weeks, inventory has dwindled to record lows for Subaru of America.
What's coming in the second half of 2021?
The 2022 Subaru Outback arrives now, and retailers have a good supply of the midsize SUV. Retailers are getting the all-new rugged 2022 Outback Wilderness sub-brand model now. Our source says they have 10 Wilderness trims ordered, and they are already pre-sold to customers. We found one Wilderness on the lot, and it's already been sold.
The 2022 Subaru BRZ sports coupe is expected to arrive this fall, and Subaru will announce the sport-tuned 2022 WRX performance sedan in the second half of 2021.
Subaru's 6-month report card has some good news and more bad news. The 2021 Subaru Forester and Crosstrek are in short supply, and it's not expected to improve until mid-August. Stay tuned.
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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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