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Subaru’s Fast Start In 2021 Takes A Downturn - One SUV Flies High

Subaru of America hoped 2021 would be nothing like 2020, and then the weather had a different idea. There is one SUV that flies high in February.

Subaru’s sales report for February is dismal compared to how they started the new year. January saw a record, and February (48,300 vehicle sales) sees a 6.6 percent decrease compared to February 2020 (51,695).

Subaru says the cold weather last month threw challenges that upset their goal for another upturn. “In February, Mother Nature brought us a multitude of challenges; however, we are proud of the ways our dedicated network of retailers, distributors, and employees persevered,” said Tom Doll, President, and CEO of Subaru of America.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport, pricing, specs, features

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek continues its success

But it wasn’t all bad news for the Camden, N.J. automaker. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek just had its best February ever, with retailers delivering 10,691 subcompact SUVs to U.S. customers, an increase of 29 percent compared to February 2020.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek has been the big story since it received a refresh. The all-new Crosstrek Sport and Limited trim now come with a 2.5-liter Boxer engine delivering 30 more horsepower. Subaru says sales have been brisk for the two new models with the larger engine.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport, pricing, specs, features
Photo credit: Capitol Subaru

The other top three SUVs saw mixed results. The 2021 Outback SUV/Wagon saw a 0.0 percent increase, with retailers delivering one more vehicle (12,666) to customers in 2021 than 2020 (12,665).

The 2021 Forester kept up its number-one-selling nameplate status with 13,482 compact SUVs delivered in February but dropped 18.1 percent compared with 2020 (16,458).

The Ascent 3-Row family hauler dropped 22.8 percent (4,619 vehicle sales) from the previous February (5,982). The 2021 Impreza saw the biggest drop in the lineup (-30.9 percent) compared with February 2020.

The automaker also reported year-to-date sales of 94,700, a 3.4 percent decline compared to the same period in 2020.

What’s next for Subaru?

The performance lineup of WRX, WRX STI, and BRZ all come with redesigns in 2021. The 2022 WRX will launch in late 2021, and the BRZ will be in Subaru showrooms this month. The Impreza also gets a complete remodel for the 2022 model change. Forester gets a refresh and will make its dealer launch this summer.

Two new outdoor-themed models are coming this year. If reports are accurate, a new 2022 Subaru Forester and 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Edition models are in the works.

The new models will begin production this spring. Recent spy shots of the new Outback Wilderness model show a lifted chassis, all-terrain tires, new fog lights, and a more aggressive body kit.

The Forester and Outback will be the first models to get the “Subaru Wilderness” badge and should hit showrooms this summer. Please read our full report here.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is the high-flying model in the all-wheel-drive stable to start the new year. New models are coming, and Subaru expects to bounce back from weather-related problems in February. Torque News will bring you updates on the new models as they arrive this spring.

You Might Also Like: Are Subaru customers loyal to the brand? Not as loyal as GM, but two Subaru SUVs get top loyalty awards in their segments.

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


Nimra (not verified)    March 3, 2021 - 9:03PM

Instead of the Ascent they should have made an oversized 3-row Crosstrek and it would have sold like hot cakes...

Marc (not verified)    March 4, 2021 - 4:08PM

In reply to by Nimra (not verified)

Terrible thinking. They replaced the Tribeca with the Ascent.

They need to have a top of line vehicle on same global platform, so you get the Ascent.

I got mine and love it and would not have wanted to squished 3rd row seat (Ascent can fit a grown adult).

Nimra (not verified)    March 4, 2021 - 11:09PM

In reply to by Marc (not verified)

Sorry I should have been more clear... they should have made a more rugged looking Crosstrek-like SUV on the same platform as the Ascent... the Tribeca wasn’t rugged but just ugly, had a terrible engine and rode horribly... people are attracted to the ruggedness of the brand (among other things)... the Ascent has nothing to distinguish it from the leaders like the Highlander, the Pilot, etc. In other words it’s just another boring SUV for boring people who can’t tell the difference between the styling of the Crosstrek vs The Ascent, e.g. see the reply from the lady above...

Marc (not verified)    March 5, 2021 - 9:24AM

In reply to by Nimra (not verified)

That's now how the auto industry works.

When you want to introduce something, you do it at the highest level so high-paying customers are getting something for their money. The Ascent let's them put in digital rear view mirror, 5k towing, etc that get introduced to lower vehicles (Outback then Forester, etc) and this is pretty standard.

I think what you're going for is just naming, because they are all built on the Subaru Global Platform, have similar 4 cylinder engines, 8.7" clearance, AWD, etc., so in a way the Ascent is the bigger Outback which is the bigger CrossTrek.

Nimra (not verified)    March 6, 2021 - 3:37PM

In reply to by Marc (not verified)

I think what I was referring to is the matter of styling. The Impreza doesn’t sell yet the Crosstrek does although they are essentially the same car. It’s the perceived ruggedness of the Crosstrek which appeals to people whether or not they need that little bit more of ground clearance on the Crosstrek. Subaru is seemingly aware of this need to keep reinforcing these ruggedness styling cues as evidenced by the upcoming Wilderness editions of the Outback and the Forester. The Ascent styling simply didn’t hit the mark styling-wise and wasn’t unique enough to attract buyers as the Telluride’s unique styling did for example.

Patrick (not verified)    March 4, 2021 - 3:28AM

If the Forester sells 15000 in a month but the Crosstrek 10000, wouldn't that make the Forester the high-flying model?

Marc (not verified)    March 4, 2021 - 4:06PM

The Ascent 3-Row family hauler dropped 22.8 percent (4,619 vehicle sales) from the previous February (5,982)

Look at any Subaru dealer's website for in-stock vehicles and Crosstrek is way out in front; Ascent is lowest.

This is typical: most auto makers top of line vehicle's are not their best sellers due to the price point. Conversely CrossTrek is pretty low MSRP for Subaru and the better engine and Sport trim boosted sales.

All this was easily predicted.