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Update: Subaru UK Can't Even Sell 1,000 New Cars - US Customers Say Thank You

Subaru reports dismal sales in Europe. See why it benefits customers in the U.S. most.


The 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek aren't selling in Europe. Subaru reports a 39.6 percent decrease in 2020, in line with other automakers. Subaru only sold 935 cars in the entire UK market in 2020. Subaru sold 19,966 units in the European market.

John Hurtig, Subaru's U.K. boss, told Autocar, "2020 was a horrible year. What can you say? It's just an embarrassing number. There's no more context, to be honest."

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

Subaru's volume in Europe is so small that it's now classified as a "niche manufacturer." In contrast, Subaru of America delivered 611,942 all-wheel-drive models to customers in the U.S. It's why Subaru Corporation will prioritize its North American operations and customers.

In a recent interview with Automotive News (by subscription), Subaru Corporation CEO Tomomi Nakamura says Subaru will focus on the U.S., where the automaker sells approximately 66 percent of its all-wheel-drive cars. Nakamura says, "We are putting the U.S. market first. That is not going to change."

2021 Subaru Outback, features, specs

How Subaru customers in the U.S. will benefit most

Because retailers asked Subaru Corporation for a new 3-Row SUV, customers in the U.S. get new models like the Ascent family hauler and the all-new Outback XT with the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine. The Outback XT is not sold in Europe or anywhere else around the globe. You can read our new report here.

In 2021, Subaru of America will get the all-new second-generation 2022 BRZ sports coupe in March and the redesigned WRX performance sedan in the fall. The two sports cars will get complete remodels with new engines and architecture. Subaru Europe dropped both performance models, and they aren't even available for customers.

Subaru and Toyota will collaborate on a new all-electric SUV coming to U.S. shores in 2022. It will be about the same size as the Subaru Forester and will be distinctly Subaru. Customers in Europe won't see the all-new Subaru battery-electric SUV until 2025.

Subaru of America had the redesigned Outback in 2019, the next-generation Forester in 2019, and refreshed Crosstrek last summer. Subaru Europe is just getting the three new models in May 2021.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport
Photo credit: Subaru of Portland

Subaru Europe just announced its refreshed 2021 Crosstrek with one trim level; the e-Boxer hybrid. Customers in the U.S. get a Crosstrek plug-in hybrid with Toyota technology (in limited quantities), the 2.0-liter engine in base and Premium trims, and a new 2.5-liter engine in the new Sport and the top-trim Limited models.

It's a tale of two markets going in different directions. Subaru rewards its customers in the U.S. with more new models while the UK struggles to sell 1000 cars. Four new models are coming for U.S. customers later this spring, including the 2021 Subaru Forester and Outback special edition models. Check out the report below.

You Might Also Like: 4 New Subaru Models That Debut This Year - 2 Are Planned, 2 Will Be A Surprise

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.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

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Photo credit: Budds Subaru, Subaru of Portland


Jeff sorensen (not verified)    January 29, 2021 - 9:43AM

I really enjoy reading your Subaru articles. My wife has a 2020 forester touring and I have a 2019 ascent touring. She has had 5 foresters. I am a little disappointed in the mileage of my ascent as well as it’s larger than I need. Do you have any updated info on when (if ever) the forester will get the 2.4 turbo engine? While I like the forester, it’s under powered as far as I am concerned. I’m 6’-3” and the ascent and forester are tall enough for easy access for me and the outback is too low. Thanks, Jeff

Steve (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 10:46AM

In reply to by Jeff sorensen (not verified)

I don’t know about the 2.4 Turbo Forester, but we just bought the 2.4 Turbo Outback XT. So far, we love it! We’re long Toyota/Lexus users. The look and feel of this Subaru made the transition easy. Take a fresh look at the Outback - we were surprised.

Jole (not verified)    January 29, 2021 - 9:55AM

Hi, I am from Europe...the problem is, that we do not get manual anymore..we just love manuals, it is that simple...I bought last XV manual in 2017 and it is the last subaru..shame...and I know 76 years old guy driving manual subarus for 30 years.. he just bought new Hyundai manual..and he is so sad☝

Hussain (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 8:17AM

In reply to by Jole (not verified)

From the middle east

Same problem with Subaru here as in Europe
The main issue is Subaru outside of America and japan are complete idiots.
They only offer the 2.0 forester and XV (crosstrek). And continue to refuse their vest selling models in the USA to be sold to the rest of the world. i would absolutely love to buy a 2.5L crosstrek to replace my 2006 2.5 forester but alas. My 2016 WRX is sold as limited, but in the USA its considered"premium"
Subaru is committed to not selling the cars the customers want outside Japan and USA.
If they continue to lose business across the globe... They deserve it.
One for sure is as a loyal subaru customer for 15+ years... I will not be buying another underpowered overpriced Subaru.

Basia (not verified)    February 1, 2021 - 6:37AM

In reply to by Jole (not verified)

A smaller car offering perhaps a coupe would also be helpful. Today's Impreza is the size of a 1990s Legacy. The smaller Impreza's of the 1990s, GC8, were so practical and fun to drive especially in manual. Great city cars.

John (not verified)    January 29, 2021 - 5:31PM

These numbers below 1000 units seem wrong. Subaru Germany alone sold over 5400 cars in 2020 (acc. to Subaru Germanys News page and official numbers from the national Federal Office for Motor Vehicles), and Subaru Europe only 951? Is Germany no longer a part of Europe? Where is the link to the source of this number?

Still, 5407 sells are very weak compared to many other manufactures ... but the article seems fake in contrast to official numbers available online (even accessible without a paywall)!

Joonas (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 1:16AM

problem is here that EU forces to sell hybrids and many subaru owners do not like hybrids so I can't buy new car anymore. I have my 2018 Forester and keep it 10-15 years until it's banned by government.

Nestor Morales (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 5:00AM

Happy owner of a 2021 Subaru Outback Limited. Would have been better if they have a heated side mirror and lockable compartment.
Looking forward to enjoying my first Subaru.

Steve (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 1:29PM

In reply to by Nestor Morales (not verified)


Our Limited XT came with heated mirrors, wiper-de-icer, heated front and back seats and heated steering wheel. Might be a New England configuration.


Argo Hein (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 7:24AM

Less than 1000 cars sold during one year in Europe doesn't sound believable. If it were true, of those 951 cars 341 were sold in Estonia! Population of Europe is roughly 748 million and Estonia's is 1,5 million so 1/500 of poulation bought 1/3 of Subarus!

m j (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 8:18AM

I bet "would be European buyers" aren't all that upset when they hear about all the recalls that are taking place.

Stephan Bogatzki (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 1:17PM

Driving more than 30 years Subaru in Germany I have no chance to replace my 2003 Outback and Forester with adequate power models.
Due to the German Co2 regulations small makers are punished while big manufacturers can buy off with small or big electric sh....
Luckily Subarus lastmode then 250000 km. Afterwards I must import myself on my risk from US or Canada or by Kia. Thanks for EU Amigo regulations supporting the big moneymakers

Fedir Andriichuk (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 1:34PM

The reason for minor sales in Europe is that we don't want here to pay for a crap with outdated engines and fake awd. We wanted REAL subarus-fast, powerful, with vtd/vdc and their branded all-time symmetric awd. Instead of intrudicing new models with features people bought them for they killed turbo forester (initially putting a crappy 2,0 overcharged engine with a max 100k resourse, which naturally nobody bought, awaiting for a NORMAL xt with 2,5 engine what never happened), put crappy variator instead of a classic automatic transmission, killed full-time awd in most of their models AND increased price. And now they continue their stupid marketing decisions. Subaru, you should urgently fire your shitty marketers and listen to what YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS (if any left) want! Otherwise you will lose european market forever.

Sebastian Diehl (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 1:36PM

Please check your source. Theese figures are totally incorect. Germany alone sells more than 5.000 units.

Don Swier (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 7:51PM

The answer to Subaru of America's relative success is obvious: Continuous support of the awesome rally team here!

Vyom (not verified)    January 30, 2021 - 9:41PM

I'm tiered of Subaru wasting their time on old well establish techs.

I also see there is no oomp in Subarus.

I am moving slowly outta Subaru

Hans Mikael Vikström (not verified)    January 31, 2021 - 1:22PM

Wrong sales figures 2020!
''It's hard to believe, but Subaru only sold 951 cars in the entire European market in 2020.''
Only in Sweden SUBARU sold 1.658 cars.!!!

Ash (not verified)    April 19, 2022 - 11:52AM

Hello Subaru UK,
Wife and I both have Subaru's. I'm on my third and my wife currently looking for her third. We visited a dealer and tried out the new Outback and Forester E-Boxer.
My wife loves her Forester XT and would like another XT. But of course, they are now not available in the UK.
It seems the best vehicle you do in the UK is the new Outback.
(Although I would not want one) The normally aspirated engines clatter too much.
But other than that, it's a very, very boring range. And the E-Boxers, what is the point of them ?
Why would anyone consider a Subaru from the UK range ?
Subaru used to have 'interesting vehicles'. Why do you not make available the 2.0 & 2.4 Turbo XT engine in the Outback or Forester in the UK when they are available in other parts of the World.
I’m sure your Dealers would get a lot more foot fall if they were on the forecourts from ex BMW/Audi/Volvo drivers.
I personally have purchased two Subaru Legacy Estate Turbo's that have been imported into the UK as I could not bear being in any of the European SUV/Estates.
Impressed with the new Information Screen, as the one in the Forester is, in my view, is unusable.
We are not able to have an EV, as our house is on an old High Street and there is not power point available as yet.
This is not a complaint, just thought you would like to hear from an (ex) UK customer.
If I could have a new Outback Field XT, in the UK, I would order one tomorrow !
Rdz, Ash

David Bowker (not verified)    March 3, 2023 - 11:45AM

I think the 1000 figure refers to the UK. I do not think we are well treated by Subaru in the UK. There are no options listed for the upholstery materials which seem available in other countries, and the e- versions are still underpowered and worse have a smaller fuel tank which must reduce the range by over 70 miles,It was a strange decision to lose some dealers and gain new at a time time of poor sales and at the same time drop the promotional magazine. I have no interest in the EV and no current model approaches my old Outback 3.0Rn - very sad.