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Subaru makes two huge mistakes with 2015 WRX STI fans

The all-new 2015 Subaru WRX STI will be launching this year, but Subaru made two big mistakes with WRX STI fans. What is Subaru thinking?

Subaru does a lot of things right, but they missed it big time with the all-new 2015 WRX STI that launches this year. Subaru announced the new-generation performance car will launch with a new sculptured body and that upset many WRX STI fans. They felt somewhat deceived that it didn’t resemble the WRX Concept car that was unveiled last March at the New York Auto Show. After the big tease on Subaru’s website of what was to come, they expected a car that more closely resembled the WRX Concept car.

The new 2015 WRX and WRX STI body style wasn’t what fans expected or wanted from the new-generation sports car. In fact, it was a huge let down for WRX and WRX STI enthusiasts around the globe. They thought the styling was just a mild makeover of the outgoing 2014 model. Even the teaser image of the WRX Subaru revealed a few days before it was unveiled in LA, gave the appearance of a whole new body style. But that didn’t happen when the covers were taken off on November 20, 2013.

But a bigger mistake Subaru made to the new-generation WRX and WRX STI was dropping the 5-door body style from the sports car lineup. Subaru announced they will only be offering the 2015 WRX and WRX STI in a sedan variant. This may have alienated Subaru’s performance fan base more than anything else. The 5-door hatch is a popular car among many sports enthusiasts and the sedan model isn’t going to keep them coming back.

The performance hatch was a big draw for many fans and they liked the versatility and multi-function use of the 5-door body style. Why Subaru decided to ax the hatch model is anyone’s guess. The Japanese automaker said they want to appeal to a wider audience with the new WRX and WRX STI. But wouldn’t it make sense if you want new buyers who have never purchased a performance car before, to appeal to more sports enthusiasts who want the sports car for fun on the weekends and not for taking it to the track?

What was Subaru thinking? We can’t quite figure out Subaru’s thinking on dropping the five-door model from the lineup. A spokesman from Subaru West in Golden, Colorado said in previous years they sold 50/50 split sedan vs hatchback models. His reasons for Subaru dropping the hatchback was because of the additional cost of development. The spokesman said he expects to see a five-door WRX and WRX STI again in 2 years with the 2017 model.

Subaru may also be concerned about production time with their other models needing that space on the assembly line as they ramp things up to meet the growing demand for their entire lineup. Subaru is growing so quickly, that they need every bit of space to meet their production numbers on their top selling Forester and XV Crosstrek models. They are expanding production at their Indiana plant and this will relieve some of that pressure in the next two years.

While many fans are upset with Subaru for the styling and dropping the hatchback, Subaru dealers won’t have a problem selling every 2015 WRX STI and 2015 WRX they get in. Dealers can start ordering the new 2015 WRX STI on February 14 and should see delivers in June 2014. Stay tuned as we get more information on the five-door WRX and WRX STI coming back.


hawk2 (not verified)    February 2, 2014 - 10:53AM

The car looks ok to me, but I prefer some thing that is lower key and the cops don't give me the "stink eye". The reason for no hatch is answered in your article. The success of the XV means Subaru just does not have the production capacity to produce the hatch in the WRX. Let's hope they can get it to us soon. With dogs & skiing & biking & everything else, the 5 door is the way I have to go.

Richard Hoffman (not verified)    February 2, 2014 - 1:56PM

Hit the nail on the head. I have an 08 STI 5-door that I love, and would be considering replacing with the 15, except for two things: no 5-door, and no change in the engine. Yes, thrust-vectoring would be nice, and the interior is a nice upgrade, but that's not enough to make me swap out the great car I already have.

One point not made here is that the 5-door style is not only enormously more practical (which it is), but is also a draw for fans of rally racing, of which Subaru has many. It's not that Subaru can't field rally teams based on the sedan, of course, but for some of the rally fans, STI 5-door=rally, and in fact that was the specific rationale for the 5-door GR model in 07/08, that it would make a superior base for that purpose.

Bottom-line, Subaru blew it with the 15, and as the article points out, bottom-line, they'll probably still sell like hotcakes. But not to me. I'll hope to see better in 17.

Ben (not verified)    September 15, 2014 - 3:34AM

In reply to by Richard Hoffman (not verified)

Its funny you mention the rational for the 08 hatch model was a better rally base. Some Subaru sales guy or spokesman probably said something to that effect but the truth is actually the total opposite. In Rally America you don't see very many 08+ WRX/STIs being run because the rear suspension geometry is actually quite bad for stage rally. Do a couple web searches on vermont sports car (the company that runs Subaru's American Rally Program) and look for their build videos. You will see that VSC actually totally rebuilds the rear geometry of the cars to better handle stage rally (at considerable cost I might add). I'm interested to see if the newer 2.0L WRX becomes popular for Stage rally in a few years. I have no idea what the suspension make-up is on those models but I do know its a totally new (non-impreza) frame so its possible they will be better out of the box for stage. All of these things are mostly unimportant for the majority of us simply because, rear geometry or not, Stage Rallying at all is a very expensive hobby and using a 5 year old or new car only makes it that much more expensive (especially when you hit a tree on day one, stage one!)

gary (not verified)    February 2, 2014 - 9:34PM

This 100% will be why I'm spending my hard earned money with a different car company. Supply and demand, I wanted the concept car and not this "new" WRX.

bob (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 12:56PM

In reply to by gary (not verified)

The chronic complainers that whine about every new car not looking like the concept still haven't given up I see. There isn't a single car that I can think of that looked like it's concept form. Sure you could have the concept for an extra 40 grand. How many of those do you think would sell?

Tarun (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 8:02AM

Don't forget, while the BRZ and WRX get the FA20 (200HP when N.A. from a 2L) the new STI keeps the old 2.4L =\

bob (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 12:53PM

In reply to by Tarun (not verified)

You mean 2.5L? I'd much rather have an engine that's been tested and tweaked for 6 years than a brand new one with .5L less. Someone would have to be pretty stupid to buy the first model year of a huge change in engine and body like on the WRX.

mofoSTI (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 11:15AM

No hatch? That' crazy and ironic. When the 08 hatch came out that's all you could get for two years until the sedan came out. The biggest mistake is the fact the engine i the same ringland failure since 07. For some reason the 04 to 06 diddnt have this issue. Fans want forged internals more than anything else bottom line. Styling and new suspension systems are great, but not wanted as much as forged internals and DI. I have an 08 and had an 04. The 04 STi was well modded on stock block and took abuse daily with no problem. Then the oil pick up tube broke and starved the engine. I sold it then bought the all new 08 STi knowing the 07s had tin gland issues. Off the lot it wasn't right or even close to my 04 when it was stock. Finally after a lot of bs Subaru replaced my engine. I'm not buying another 36 thousand dollar ring land failure. I'll just rebuild mine with forged internals.

matthew (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 9:38PM

Wonderful 8 year old engine and boring body. Subaru must want to really desecrate the WRX name. Many other and better options out there

si101 (not verified)    February 4, 2014 - 6:48AM

No hatch, no want. Smaller engine, no want. Ugly body. I see a common trend here. They said this would look nothing like an impreza and would be totally redesigned, well it's not. They must not want to please their fan base

Donny B. (not verified)    February 4, 2014 - 3:55PM

I was one of the early buyers of the 2002 WRX 5-door, and replaced it with the 2008 STI 5-door. Am looking to change, but not with this offering. I prefer to change when there is something significantly new and better. No wagon? Only cosmetic changes? I hope your new sedan is good enough to attract new customers because you are driving away your loyal customers to your competitors.

donnie (not verified)    March 28, 2014 - 4:09AM

Get the EVO! Subaru sucks,everyone's got one and the body styles ugly.the MR walks on the sti in a race.

Andrew (not verified)    August 18, 2014 - 1:18AM

In reply to by donnie (not verified)

I'm good, I don't want a dodge. The EVO is trash, the clutch feels like it comes from a semi, acceleration sucks and it looks like a box. I do not like the 2015 wrx/sti but 11-14 was the best.