2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Forester, 2020 Crosstrek, 2020 Ascent
Denis Flierl's picture

The Subaru Story They Don’t Want You To Read

Subaru doesn’t think you are ready for an all-EV lineup. Why is Subaru taking a slow is safe approach with the 2020 Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and Ascent models?

Subaru doesn’t think you would buy an all-electric Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, or Ascent model. Subaru’s top boss Tomomi Nakamura says U.S. buyers aren’t ready for an all-EV lineup. At least not yet. A story in the Wall Street Journal says Subaru is only selling around 300 of its all-new 2020 Crosstrek Hybrid models per month, and a story from Automotive News Europe quotes Nakamura saying, “The only EVs that are selling well are from Tesla,” he said at a technology briefing earlier this week.

Subaru doesn’t want you to know they are controlling the sale of its first-ever plug-in. The top Subaru boss fails to tell you they only make the 2020 Crosstrek plug-in hybrid available in limited quantities and only in a few states. It’s hard to sell a new model if customers can’t even find one.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid
Subaru is limiting quantities of the Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid

It’s all about playing it safe

Subaru doesn’t want to take the risk of bringing an all-electric Outback, Forester, Crosstrek or Ascent model to customers yet. In the briefing to journalists this week, Subaru tried to impress them by spelling out its plan to make at least 40 percent of its global sales electric vehicles or hybrid electric vehicles but says you will have to wait another decade (by 2030) to get one.

Subaru teased a futuristic EV all-wheel-drive model this week but said you can’t have it. Nakamura said at the briefing, Subaru, which is now 20 percent owned by Toyota, will collaborate with the largest Japanese automaker on new hybrid technology and introduce a vehicle with the technology sometime this decade. Subaru is also jointly developing an all-electric SUV with Toyota and plans to bring it to major markets including the U.S. but not for another five years.

New Subaru all-electric SUV
Subaru says an all-electric SUV is coming by 2025

Subaru’s chief technology officer, Tetsuo Onuki says projections of EVs taking over the market in the next decade aren’t realistic. “To be honest, we don’t expect the market is going to turn into all-electric vehicles in 2030,” Mr. Onuki said. “They’re going to be quite expensive.”

What’s next for Subaru?

The second-generation Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 is coming next with a possible new turbocharged engine, and the sports coupe will possibly ride on Toyota’s TNGA architecture (Toyota New Generation Architecture). But it’s not going to get hybrid technology for another decade at least.

Subaru thinks taking the slow approach is best for its customers. For now, Subaru is sitting on the sidelines until all-electric vehicles become more widely accepted in the U.S. market. Subaru’s president Tomomi Nakamura seems content to wait and watch for at least another half-decade.

Watch why the 2020 Subaru Outback is hotter than the 2020 Forester and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive news coverage.

Subaru will instead focus on reducing its carbon footprint from its factories, offices and other facilities, while improving the safety and drivability of the top-selling 2020 Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek and Ascent models. Subaru is taking a slow is safe approach when it comes to an EV lineup and points to slow sales of the 2020 Crosstrek Hybrid to prove you won’t buy them.

You Might Also Like: An Offensive New Forester Name Brings An Apology From Subaru

Denis Flierl has invested over 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 at Torque News!

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru Corporation

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.


Most potential Subaru customers disagree. Subaru knows this.
It's pretty clear that Subaru is gaining more new customers by sticking to it's strategy of keeping the product affordable while slowly but reliably evolving their models around the cornerstone values of utility and safety. They have consistently increased the luxury of their higher end trim, and in so doing have a small segment of customers who would be willing to spend in the range required to get a decent EV, but that's not Subaru's core segment. Subaru's rise has always been based on a focus on its core segment, which is consistently growing due to prevailing long term tends, rather than on trying to conquer new market territory. Subaru is wise to stick to it's slow and steady strategy, rather than being tempted into experimental waters by the fact that EV demand is emerging in a segment that intersects Subaru's segment, but only at the high end. Subaru investors should be pleased by Management's unwillingness to be distracted. They should be more concerned with management getting the declining reliability numbers under control. That is a much greater threat to Subaru than the potential flight of EV early adopters.
We love our 2019 Crosstrek PHEV. Unfortunately the battery technology across the industry and charging infrastructure just aren't developed enough for a BEV to work for us, especially since we need AWD and off-road capabilities. We like to travel and the road trips we took last year would have been impossible in a BEV because there are very few, if any, charging stations in the places we went or plan on going to in the future. Why would auto makers rush to produce a lot of BEV's when it's practically impossible to charge them on the road at this point?
An item to consider for all auto manufacturers is this: what percentage of vehicles are not garaged? Anyone who live in housing with no garage is going to have a hard time charging their EVs overnight without an electric connection near where they park, and apartment complexes, townhomes, and condominiums with open air parking are not currently set up for tenant vehicle charging. I am not completely opposed to electric vehicles, but I AM opposed to the branding of electric vehicles as eco-friendly. The electricity is still generated by burning hydrocarbons... The hydrocarbon waste is simply not produced to the same volume from the tailpipe of vehicles ...
I agree on garage vs street parking but it's way easier to convert the grid than it is to convert millions of cars to electric so converting the fleet is smart. Personally, I think the government should be subsidising the crap out of electric vehicles right now and if we didn't keep electing such old politicians we'd already be doing it. I mean shoot...we have the world's leading electric car company right here in America. Let's help make sure they grow and thrive. Lord knows we've given enough incentives to the oil companies over the years. Ford, RAM, and GM? Catch up and keep selling big pickups. Electric is a long way from replacing big work trucks and that's okay but the everyday commuter? Yea. Let's stop burning four 5 gallon buckets of gas into the atmosphere each week and sending our hard earned $ to countries that hate us.
Last I checked we're not importing any more oil. It's all coming from our own land. And last I check climate change was a hoax so I'll continue to buy my gas burning vehicles. Shouldn't be punishing the consumers, there are way too many other larger violators out there. Cargo ships, cruise ships, airplanes...etc. You're all being misled.
We still import a fraction (11%) of our oil from SA. However, we import 40% of our oil from Canada.
LOL, yeah look how well that has worked out for Mitsubishi!!. Not giving people options is the quickest way to dissapear as a company!
They also know that many in their customer base use their cars as meant to be...adventure. this part of their base will never entertain an electric car camping with all the gear draining that battery. Even Tesla owners complain about their range after a few years.
from someone who works in the automotive industry - I can say that the reason why Subaru is taking the slow and steady approach is because EV's are not profitable by any means. To give you an example, Chevrolet loses potentially thousands for every Bolt they sell. I know of a Chevy store that lost almost $100k in net profit after factory rebates. From a business standpoint, it makes sense for Subaru to be cautious - when they're being successful, have the only symmetrical AWD system on the market, and the majority of their customers show cult like loyalty to their brand, there's no reason to jump on the proverbial bandwagon when it is far from profitable (at this time) if your company is anyone other than Tesla. Even then, Tesla does not negotiate, so they accrue massive profits from each sale, with no need to incentivize.
Subaru doesn't need to make an electric vehicle. I'm from upper midwest and it's not practical given that you lose 40% of range in winters. However, if Subaru thinks I don't care about mileage they're wrong. There's nothing I despise more than my weekly trip to the gas station to throw another $50 bill into the wind and over to Saudi Arabia. We looked at Forester for my wife but why buy that when the new Honda CR-V hybrid has more cargo space and 8-10 more MPG. We also looked at the 3 rows. Ascent? 25mpg. 2020 Highlander hybrid? 34mpg. I love Subaru but they should be offering more hybrids and improving mileage.
We had a Chevy Volt we loved but it was totaled. We wanted a small awd so a new Volt was out. We almost bought the Plug in Crosstrek but in reality, it’s a joke. 22 or so miles electric only range compared to 53 on the Volt. Plus the battery took up WAY too much space in small trunk area, and it was more expensive even after all the rebates. It’s a compliance car. The only other car that would have worked was a Tesla Model 3 awd, but, my wife didn’t want to drive a Tesla. She now goes back to the gas station and wished we bought something else. If Subaru built a REAL plug in hybrid we would have bought it. Subaru isn’t serious about electric cars. We are ready to by electric and dump this 20th century Subaru when more there are more choices. I was amazed to see the Crosstrek needs an oil change every 6k miles! Even my 2001 truck doesn’t have that high of a maintenance schedule!! The demand for electric cars is here now. Just look at Tesla!!
Subaru recalls aplenty, notorious head gasket problems, crummy CVT. They play up boxer engine like a marvel but use it since it's easier to set up AWD with it.
I'm the kind of person that wants no frills, safe, AWD, reliable, and affordable transportation. My 1st subaru saved my life - not just my opinion but the EMTs and trama doctors. That is still most important to me. If I were subaru, I'd wait a bit for all issues with this newer feature get exposed before I jumped in too much. Let others reveal problems and then work them out. Love subaru
After purchasing two Subaru's in the past, I will be looking to buy an EV. Its not about what I want any more. It's the correct thing to do to quit burning carbon fuels for the future of our children. If a doctor told you that if you kept smoking cigarettes you would die, would you quit? If hundreds of scientists told you that if you kept burning fossil fuels your children and grand children's futures would be at stake would you quit? Its a shame Subaru doesn't believe in science.
I've been looking at cars, and while I want a Subaru, their fuel economy is atrocious. The RAV4, Escape, and CR-V are getting 40, 42, and 45 respectively while the Forester and Outback get 26. Subaru drivers don't want a pure BEV, it makes no sense, but they do want a hybrid or PHEV.
Call me when there's an AWD EV wagon with 400 mile range (lights, rear window defroster, heat, A/C, all on), half an hour charge to 80%, and with readily available rural chargers. Otherwise (like fully autonomous vehicles), they're urban conveyances that have no place (or friends) anytime soon in rural America.
I need an EV that is AWD or a 4x4 that is an SUV. Want to hook up to my solar-powered home, drive in the HOV lane, still have enough room for SAM's club runs with my family and enough mileage on one charge to commute 35 miles to and from each way on one charge even in 20 degree weather. I want it all!!! RAV-4 EV was the best idea. 2020 KIA Soul EV is tempting while it's more of an outback and not an SUV.
I will buy an electric subaru when you pry my cold dead hands off my WRX..... Just sayin
Subaru presumes to know what its customer are ready for? Wrong. I want to buy an EV Outback today. It is what I AM ready for today, and have been for a while. More and more, I see the frustration of buyers who cannot get the next gen of cars from their favorite brands. Subaru is falling behind the times, and people will buy elsewhere.
There is no hurry to sell an EV in 2020. There are virtually no charging stations available. How many drivers want to pull over to a rest stop off I95 to spend 1-2hrs. waiting to be charged? Get real!
I'd be all for an electric or hybrid electric Subaru, but they have to be smarter about it then the current Crosstrek. It's utterly ridiculous to offer a Subaru that does not have a spare tire. No one's going to take their Subaru adventuring if they know they're going to just get stuck somewhere with a flat. They also need to figure out a better way of mounting batteries that doesn't eat up cargo space
I will be ready to purchase a new vehicle in 2022. Since we already have a large SUV, my first choice right now is the Legacy Touring. And I agree with the Subaru CEO. Until the miles range and recharging stations issues are solved, an EV isn't right for us.
And they are right!!! Bought a new Subaru 1 week ago. My second one. Will not buy another type of car unless they change.
Bad approach of Subaru with new technologies. Too late with introduction on hybrid vehicles, and system integrating very small electric motor on transmission to sell "hybrid" was a really big cheat, because is a very low reduction on performance. I spect some new Subaru like outlander hybrid or RAV4 hybrid. With two motors, maybe plug in hybrid. By now I'm very happy with my forester 2019, but I would buy some hybrid model like outlander but is too expensive in relation to normal model who I have before. All brands make stupid mistakes because don't have goods channels to ask to his customers I ask to company here in Chile but answers are very bad.
I am never going to buy a ev vehicle. If they released the new BRZ with a hybrid system they would loose their entire fanbase (I own a 2017BRZ)
Since Toyota owns 20%, and Toyota has a large market share in hybrids, it would be a little foolish to create models that would compete and take away from them. Probably also why I doubt they the anticipated Bajah ( or Brat) on the Ascent platform might not happen.
When I was shopping for my 2014 Crosstrek the Hybrid model only got 3mpg better than my Limited 2.0 and it was $5000 more. That’s a lot of trips to the gas station to make up the price difference. EV is the future and the Subaru customer base would embrace it.
Subaru lost me as a customer when they wouldn't sell me a PHEV Crosstrek across state lines from where it was originally released. I went to another make and spent more money on a brand new vehicle with bells and whistles. Corporate Subaru is short-sighted. The new RAV4s coming will have plugins as an option and will be assembled in USA. Corporate Subaru needs some new leadership that looks toward the future.
Not sure what happened in your case, but I went across state lines and bought in NJ and had no problem. In fact, I even ordered one without the moonroof package and only had to wait 12 weeks to get it. I also got the car for $2600 under MSRP. I think maybe the dealer you went to didn't want the hassle?