Why Doesn’t Subaru Build a Mid-Size Pickup? It’s the Hottest Segment in America
As is the case globally, pickup sales are up across most brands and it’s a hot segment for automakers. So why doesn’t Subaru build a mid-size pickup like the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon? Their Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system would be perfect for a pickup and would likely be a big hit with truck buyers.
A little history about Subaru may help. Subaru didn’t start out making all-wheel-drive multi-purpose vehicles like the 2017 Outback, Forester and Crosstrek. Fuji Heavy, parent company of Subaru, started by making a tiny car for the Japanese market called the Subaru 360. Then came the vehicle that started the small AWD SUV craze in America. The Subaru Leone Estate was the first Subaru to be fitted with the Japanese automakers Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system and this iconic car would set the pace for Subaru’s niche market that is setting records today.
A Subaru pickup would be a great addition to their AWD lineup
The Leone Estate set the stage for their all-wheel-drive Outback wagon, Forester SUV, Crosstrek crossover, Impreza compact, Legacy sedan, WRX and WRX STI performance models. So wouldn’t a pickup be the next logical vehicle for Subaru? A mid-size pickup would be a great addition to Subaru’s AWD lineup but, it’s not that easy for the small Japanese automaker to produce one.
Subaru is a small automaker compared with its large competitors like Nissan, and Toyota who produce the popular Frontier and Tacoma pickups. Fuji Heavy has limited resources and they only have so much extra money for R&D to go around. Subaru has been focused on developing their new global platform, the all-new 2017 Impreza compact, a new 3-Row crossover coming in 2018, and they’re trying to figure out how to meet current fuel-mileage standards coming in 2018. They will also be coming out with a new hybrid model, and they are developing all-electric technology and it's stretching their resources thin. More on Page 2.
The iconic Subaru Leone Estate with 4WD started it all for Subaru by creating a niche market of all-wheel-drive vehicles that has made the small Japanese automaker very successful. Subaru is sticking to what put them on the map, building a few niche AWD cars that appeal to urban-adventurers. They do one thing, and they do it very well. Next up for Subaru, is building a new 3-Row crossover for American consumers, and they don’t have the resources or production capacity to build a pickup. Although it would likely be a big hit, Subaru won’t be coming out with a mid-size pickup like the Tacoma, Frontier, Colorado or Canyon anytime soon.
Photo credit: Mitsubishi Strada