Why Doesn’t Subaru Create a New Luxury Brand?
The Subaru brand is at the lower end of the price scale and has created a niche market with their all-wheel-drive vehicles. They were the first automaker to bring an all-wheel-drive wagon for active urban-adventurers. The Japanese automaker is going on ten years of year-over-year growth. Is it time for Subaru to create a luxury brand like Toyota (Lexus), Honda (Acura) and Nissan (Infiniti)?
Lexus is the new upstart luxury brand with the most success of any of the Japanese automakers. Toyota Motor Corporation created the Lexus brand a decade ago and has transformed this upstart into a major automotive success story. Lexus has become one of the top-selling American luxury cars, behind only Lincoln, Cadillac and Mercedes.
Why not Subaru?
Toyota Motor owns 16.5 percent of Subaru Corporation and they could learn from their expertise. What Subaru has going for it with their current lineup, is a stable of all-wheel-drive crossers and SUVs driving showroom traffic, bringing in customers who have active lifestyles. The Outback wagon, Forester SUV, and Crosstrek small crosser are the top-selling nameplates.
For Subaru to copy Lexus success and carve out new territory, would require the small Japanese automaker to create a distinct identity, with separate dealerships, and not dilute the brand with low-priced, less luxurious vehicles. They could not take the new Ascent 3-Row and just give it an upscale look. A new Subaru luxury brand would need a whole new lineup of upscale all-wheel-drive vehicles.
For Subaru to create a luxury brand of their own would require large amounts of capital, which the small Japanese automaker doesn’t have. Subaru doesn’t have deep pockets like Toyota, and to create a successful luxury brand, requires a stable of fresh exciting products. Don’t look for Subaru to create a new luxury brand. They don’t have the resources to create a luxury division like Toyota did with Lexus. Subaru is working hard to keep up with other automakers launching new hybrid and all-electric models, they don’t have a mid-size truck or even a super-expensive “halo car.”
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Photo credit: Subaru USA