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Subaru Chases Sales Records But You Want A New Forester And Outback That's More Reliable

Subaru is chasing more sales records with the new 2020 Forester and Outback but will it be at the expense of quality?

New Subaru top boss Tomomi Nakamura told reporters this week he is already expecting records sales in 2020 when the Japanese automaker hasn’t even finished 2019 yet. A report from Reuters says Subaru Corporation is capitalizing on the U.S. market's appetite for SUVs and the new 2020 Forester and the wildly popular Outback sales will continue to surge.

Subaru of America which accounts for 65 percent of all Subaru sales, expects to sell a record 700,000 vehicles in 2019 and Nakamura predicts sales of the new-generation 2020 Forester and Outback will help overall vehicle sales to rise to as much as 730,000 units in the U.S., in 2020 which would be more than a 4 percent increase over the target of 700,000 this year.

2020 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek and Outback

What about Subaru’s reliability?

But customers don’t care all that much if Subaru hits their 11th record year in-a-row sales streak this year. What car shoppers are looking for is a vehicle that is reliable. This is what could hurt Subaru in the near future. The Japanese automaker has had a string of very costly recalls of its SUVs and they had two new recalls this week alone with Forester, Crosstrek, and new Ascent.

Subaru Corporation has seen rapid growth in the U.S. market, so much so, that they have had a jump in global quality-related issues. In 2018-2019 alone, Subaru of America announced at least 13 recalls for its all-wheel-drive SUVs and crossovers. A global recall in March affected as many as 2.3 million Subaru vehicles worldwide.

2019 Subaru Forester

In January, Subaru Corporation had to shut down its factory in Gunma, Japan for two weeks over a power steering component defect. The 2019 Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, and Impreza models were the models affected by the issue. 

In 2018, Subaru Corporation was hit with a fuel-mileage falsification scandal that was reported to be due to its record growth in the U.S. that caused them to overlook the corporate culture inside their factories in Japan and cut corners. The scandal forced an early exit for then-President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga and Tomomi Nakamura took over as President of Subaru Corporation.

New Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura tells reporters the company is expecting record sales again in 2020 but fails to address the elephant in the room which is reliability. Car shoppers couldn’t care less about sales records, they want a new 2020 Forester and Outback that is reliable. Has Subaru learned their lesson about growing too fast, or will they continue to chase a 12th straight record in 2020 at the expense of quality?

You Might Also Like: Leaked Documents Reveal Subaru Is Concerned With New 2020 Outback Quality

Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagramSubaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates!

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Photo credit: Subaru DR


Digitaldoc (not verified)    December 14, 2019 - 3:22PM

Add to the wishlist not embarrassedly slow for the Crosstrek, Impreza and Forester models. They all need an optional engine with some power, along with losing the cvt for an 8 spd auto transmission with actual gears. A small turbo is the obvious fix that Subaru perenially can't seem to figure out.

Thomas (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 12:17PM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

Hey Digitaldoc, if you want a fast car than Subaru is not your choice. There are people that are looking for a safe, reliable, roomy car with 4wd, and affordable. I owned the 2019 Subaru Forester Sport, replacing a trouble prone Honda Pilot, and the vehicle is wonderful. I have no issues with the CVT and the car is more than adequate in horsepower. So, please just shut the f&*k up and whine elsewhere.

Jim C. (not verified)    December 14, 2019 - 5:03PM

Buyer beware. Subaru is now dealing with a major engine defect that causes the engine to stop. I bought an '11 Forester and there was a recall to replace the short block. It took a class action suit to get them to fix the problem. Do your homework before buying a Subaru.

Garry Wilkins (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 7:36AM

In reply to by Jim C. (not verified)

I was researching and considering a outback, but after learning of all the recalls I will stick with Toyota brands that I have owned for 40 plus years with total satisfaction and minimum recall issues which were very simple recalls nothing major in the way of what Subaru issues are. My neighbors son purchased a 2016 forester and so often I notice them putting oil in it, so I asked the question and learned he had to put oil in it every 1,200 miles, that was big enough flag for me to take Subaru outback off the list of a new purchase. Toyota for life unless nothing Catastrophic happens.

Michael (not verified)    December 14, 2019 - 5:21PM

Unless Subaru gets back to the basics of building reliable, economical, relatively simple cars, my 2003, 2004, &2018 Forrester will be the last for me. My 2003 has been a GREAT car - even today oil consumption is less than 1/2 qt in 5,000 miles. My 2018 with just 6K on it is going thru 1qt every 1,200 miles. That is just ridiculous for a modern vehicle... but Subaru wants to call it "reasonable".

Lance (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 8:37PM

In reply to by Michael (not verified)

I'm with you, Michael, my 2015 Legacy with 110,000 miles can't get through 5,000 miles without the low oil light coming on. I was planning to buy a new Outback this Summer when our teenager takes over the Legacy but after reading more of these problems I'm looking elsewhere.

Debbie (not verified)    December 14, 2019 - 5:38PM

Have had a 20 year old Camry. In the market for an SUV. Was ready to switch to a Forrester or Outback. Then all the news of their recalls so I am now a proud owner of a RAV 4. Glad I made that decision in light of this latest article

REM (not verified)    December 14, 2019 - 6:08PM

Bingo. My 3-month-old 2020 Forester Limited has developed a rattle, Android Auto navigation is buggy, and it seems like there's a lot that could go wrong. Eye Sight systems nag in good weather but immediately go offline in fog or stormy weather (when it's really needed). The car is comfortable and gets 31 mpg calculated manually (33 reported). So . . . we'll have to wait and see.

Kary (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 8:15AM

How about a reliable headline writer? (One that understands plural/singular.)

The Outbacks seem to have avoided most the recalls. The 2013s used oil, and they had that small batch in 2019 that had to be destroyed in transit due to a weld issue they caught early, but that's all I recall. Now the smaller ones . . .. They are keeping the dealerships hopping.

Jc (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 8:21AM

Subarus reliability is in question now. I have three, a 2005 Legacy, 2012 Impreza and a 2017 Forrester. The Legacy is showing its age but has less recalls than all of them.
The 2012 has its engine block replaced. The 2017 has four recalls so far and counting. My next car will not be a Subaru and we are actively looking for a new car.

Leisure Suit Larry (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 8:36AM

What about all the reports of windshields randomly cracking and owners being responsible for the very expensive replacement?

It's a very expensive repair because of the integrated eyesight.
And then the replacement windshield cracks as well.

Subaru is not taking responsibility for that issue either and notoriously waits until they are hit with class action lawsuits.

Everything i continue to read about Subaru tells me, it is not a reliable vehicle.
As much as i would like an Outback, they have far too many problems to feel comfortable owning one.

Subaru - you are a disgrace.

Cliff C. (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 11:35AM

We have owned about 7 Subaru's over the years. We currently have a 2012 legacy, 2015 Forester, and a 2016 Forester XT. My daughter said she was going to trade in the 2015 next year for a 2020 Forester. I told her that we will all start looking for a more reliable car company. No more Subaru's for us.

G (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 11:37AM

Subaru has not cracked the formula on how to mass produce reliable vehicles. Meanwhile their cars get more and more expensive every year and less and less fun to drive.

Bill (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 11:42AM

I bought my daughter a used 2008 outback with 100k on it. The engine similar to the new ones used over 3 quarts of oil in barely 3000 miles. If the oil hadn't been checked often she could have run it out of oil as the crankcase only holds 4 quarts. Then the engine would or could have blown up. And what does a new engine cost? 5 to 7k?
Is Subaru going to continue with these under powered engines why don't they but in a vertical piston type engine similar to my 2003 Toyota Tacoma engine with a 100 k on it and uses no oil and runs like a champ... It's also a 2.4 liter engine similar to the Subaru horizontal disaster of of an engine. My kid likes the car as she go camping in it and it's 4 wheel drive but knows little about the engines etc...

robert p burnside (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 11:55AM

Lighting inside terrible , have turbo & mph is terrible. Way to many beeps & screen to log. Had 2015 before wish I could swap for regular. Limite

Abraham Chavarria (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 12:00PM

I stoped buying Subaru's after they stopped making them in Japan. I still have my 2004 Subaru Outback 3.0H6 sedan and its in perfect condition with 135km made in Japan. I'm trying to maintain this tank as much as I can because I would never get back to Subaru's.. All this new stuff are garbage. It's only for sales. Looks like the story of every car manufacturer is about pumping sales. Quality not there anymore

Cathy (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 12:55PM

I bought a 2020 Forrester a month ago. Found out no fob for remote start with the first snow here in Ontario. Can start with the app for 3 years, then pay? So disappointed that a remote start fob not included. Can buy one for 600. Hey Mr Subaru, this is North America where there are Four seasons.

Tom Murray (not verified)    December 16, 2019 - 9:57PM

I had a 1998 forester and a 2014 forester. My 2014 forester was initially good but then had issues including need for new transmission. Subaru may be growing but too fast at expense of quality. They will lose the core fans not just the new ones. Too expensive and lower reliability. I had recommended Subaru to many friends but no more.