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Subaru Is Not The Best At Much, They Are Tops In Attracting And Keeping Nomads

Are you a nomadic car buyer who is one and done? Check out a new report and see why the Subaru brand could be better, but they are among the best car brands in attracting and retaining nomadic customers.

Subaru Outback, Crosstrek, and Forester customers are loyal to the Subaru brand, but what about new customers who have never purchased an all-wheel-drive Subaru vehicle before? A recent report from Automotive News (by subscription) and a study from S&P Global research says Subaru's first-time customers, or "nomads," are returning to buy another Subaru vehicle. And the Japanese automaker now ranks among the top four mainstream brands.

What is a nomadic customer?

A nomad is not a collectible 1957 Chevrolet wagon; they are customers selling the vehicle they drive and buying a new car brand they have not purchased before. As a demographic, S&P Global found that nomad customers live in suburban areas, have a high disposable income, and are likely to "chase the latest trendy product."

2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness nomad

The study found that Subaru, Jeep, Kia, and Hyundai are mainstream brands with the highest share of nomads returning to the market and have higher retention of these buyers. Subaru has about a 63% share of nomads returning to the brand, and a 49% rate is one-and-done and going elsewhere after one purchase.

S&P Global's study reveals the car brands with the highest number of nomad purchasers and the best at retaining these buyers are developing new products that appeal to a broader audience. Subaru has four new models attracting new customers and one new model on the way.

2023 Subaru Ascent

Subaru offers the new Ascent

The first thing Subaru did well was developing the all-new Ascent 3-Row SUV. The Tribeca was a poorly performing model, and Subaru of America asked the Corporation for a family hauler, and they delivered the new Ascent. It's been a success with families needing a midsize all-wheel-drive model.

The Wilderness sub-brand arrives

But Subaru's most significant success was bringing the new rugged outdoor-themed Wilderness sub-brand to U.S. retailers. The Outback Wilderness has been wildly successful since it launched for the 2022 model year. It's the brand's hottest Outback trim for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get further off the grid.

2023 Subaru Forester Wilderness nomad

The Forester Wilderness was the brand's second rugged Wilderness sub-brand launch, and it has seen some success, but different from the Outback Wilderness trim level. The Forester Wilderness could have been wildly successful, but it needs a larger engine for adventure enthusiasts who need the extra power to get further away from civilization.

Subaru's first all-electric model

The third new upgrade to the lineup is the 2023 Subaru Solterra all-electric compact SUV. The Solterra sold out in the first 72 hours that the Camden, N.J. automaker offered it to its U.S. customers.

Subaru is not done

Subaru of America will launch the 2024 Crosstrek Wilderness subcompact SUV later this year. The Crosstrek is now the brand's number-one selling model in the U.S. market. The Crosstrek Wilderness could take the small SUV to new sales heights it's never seen.

Subaru is not wildly successful at much, but they are among the top mainstream brands in attracting first-time nomadic buyers and keeping them. New models like the 2023 Subaru Outback and Forester Wilderness, Ascent 3-Row SUV, and all-new Solterra EV are a significant reason.

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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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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Bob (not verified)    January 26, 2023 - 9:15AM

The writer of this article reminds me of my time working for the cable company. It had always been run by someone who came up through the ranks of engineering or accounting, people who understood how the company. They made a nearly fatal mistake when they promoted someone from marketing, no knowledge of how things work, but a visionary of "possibilities." She very nearly bankrupted a previously highly profitable company. Denis Flier is cut from the same bolt of cloth; he attributes brand loyalty only to marketing, without a mention of satisfied customers.

Hank Robin (not verified)    January 27, 2023 - 11:47AM

I agree with Bob. Also, the tone of this article would be insulting to any competent, satisfied repeat buyers if they were silly enough to take it seriously.