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Subaru’s Top 3 Sellers, The One Hot Trim Level, And They Need 2 More

Subaru made a smart move in 2020. They brought in the Outback Wilderness, and two more rugged outdoor-themed vehicles followed. In 2024, it's looking even more brilliant. Check out the performance numbers, and you tell me.

The Subaru Wilderness sub-brand experiment came at the right time for Subaru of America. I don't know who suggested offering the rugged outdoor-themed Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek Wilderness trim levels, but whoever did it deserves a big raise and a promotion.

From my vantage point, it was likely a joint decision between Japanese executives and Subaru of America execs. Or it could be Tom Doll, who just exited the Camden, N.J. automaker and was in an advisory role after he stepped down as President and CEO last April. Either way, good job knowing your customers, Subaru of America. 

Check out these telling numbers and tell me what you think. Only three of Subaru of America's models had positive figures in March.

Here are the Subaru model rankings in March.

  • Subaru Forester - 21,045 (+105%)
  • Subaru Crosstrek - 14,527 (+3.5%)
  • Subaru Outback - 13,501 (+1.9%)

Do you see what is happening? Only Subaru Models With Wilderness trim levels increased in March.

As you can see from SOA's numbers above, the Forester, Crosstrek, and Outback are the only three Subaru models with increased sales volume compared with March 2023. All other Subaru models dropped for the month, most with double-digit drops. The Forester's massive increase was the most impressive of all

All Wilderness SUVs Are Up, And It's Not Coincidence

Interestingly, the only Subaru nameplates with increased sales are SUVs with Wilderness trim levels. The Subaru Wilderness continues to be a big hit, with active customers wanting to escape civilization.

Unfortunately, I don't know the Wilderness sales numbers because Subaru does not separate each model's sales performance by trim level. But it would be interesting to see. 

My sources close to Subaru say the Outback Wilderness is the top-selling Wilderness trim, and the Forester is close behind. The new Crosstrek could pass both because it seems to be the hottest Crosstrek trim now. 

Where would Subaru be without the Wilderness outdoor-themed models?

When Subaru launched the Wilderness sub-brand, it was the best thing Subaru of America had done since they launched the Crosstrek. Without the three Wilderness trims, would SOA have twenty consecutive months of growth? From what I see, Subaru would have very different results. 

The Wilderness Experiment Is Paying Off Big 

Now, with the new Crosstrek Wilderness, Subaru has three rugged models. The Camden, N.J. automaker knows how vital the outdoor-themed models are. Check out what Troy Poston, Senior Vice President of Sales at Subaru of America, says.

"Car buyers preparing for warmer days and outdoor adventures have been enthusiastic about our wide range of vehicles, including Wilderness models, which highlight additional capabilities alongside the safety standards Subaru vehicles are known for. Forester, available in Wilderness trim, achieved its best sales month of all time, a testament to its continued popularity in a competitive segment."

Subaru Needs Two More Wilderness Trims

Two more Wilderness trims would increase sales even more. The Ascent 3-Row SUV needs a rugged outdoor-themed model, and a new BAJA Wilderness Pickup would change the pickup landscape. But bringing back the Baja is a pipe dream. But it's fun to dream, right?

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this Subaru Wilderness report. See you tomorrow for my latest Subaru Report.


Before you go, let me know what you think of the Subaru Wilderness models. Should they bring more rugged models?


I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News and Subaru reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my The Dirty Subaru website, Dirty Subaru blog, X SubaruReport, All Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierl, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA