2020 Subaru Outback, new Subaru Outback, VW decision to drop Golf SportWagen, Golf Alltrack
Denis Flierl's picture

Why Subaru Is Applauding VW Now Before The New Outback Arrives

The new seventh-generation 2020 Outback is about to arrive and Subaru couldn’t be happier. See why a recent decision by VW will help the Japanese automaker.
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The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack have been the Subaru Outback’s main competition but that will change soon. A recent report from Automotive News says Volkswagen will end production of the Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack wagons at the end of 2019, leaving the newly-remodeled 2020 Subaru Outback model change with virtually no competition.

The report says Volkswagen has seen slow sales of the Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack AWD because SUV sales are booming. It’s why they will drop the two wagons at the end of the year. But the same competitive SUV/Crossover market hasn’t hurt Outback sales as it’s the number one selling nameplate in the Subaru all-wheel-drive stable.

2020 Subaru Outback
2020 Subaru Outback

Through the first six months of the year, Volkswagen reported it sold just 5,123 SportWagens and Alltracks combined in the U.S., down 36 percent from the previous year. In contrast, Subaru of America delivered 93,711 Outback models to customers in the first 6 months of 2019, up 3.0 percent from a year ago. SOA delivered 17,505 Outback models in June alone, making it the best month ever for the SUV-alternative Outback.

In another report, Motor Trend says Ford could be bringing their own Subaru Outback fighter. Torque News reported this a year ago, as Bloomberg reported in July 2018 that anonymous sources within Ford Motor Company claimed the Fusion would live on as a “sport wagon” fashioned as a Subaru Outback competitor.

2020 Subaru Outback
Ford Fusion Wagon

Until now, the only competition has been from Volkswagen with their SportWagon and Golf Alltrack AWD. Honda tried with the strange-looking Crosstour but it never caught on. If Ford brings a new Fusion Wagon and tries to replicate the success of the Subaru Outback, they will need the right product and not the model pictured here. It looks like the Buick Regal TourX, with the looks of a European sports tourer that sits too low to the ground to compete with the “go-anywhere” attitude of the Outback.

2020 Subaru Outback

The newly remodeled 2020 Subaru Outback makes its dealer launch in September and with the decision by VW to drop the Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack wagons at the end of 2019, Subaru Corp is applauding because it leaves the SUV-alternative Outback with no competition.

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You Might Also Like: Can Subaru Build You A New Outback SUV Without Any Flaws

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Photo credit: Subaru USA, Motor Trend


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Comments

Why didn't Volkswagen figure out how to market the Golf Alltrak AWD Wagon?
In 2007 I test drove the SportWagen against the Outback, CX-5, and some other competing SUVs/Wagons, but the Alltrack wasn't out yet. I liked the SportWagen a bit more than the Outback because it felt more like a fun, small car. But the Outback ultimately won because it seemed like it would be more reliable and because I wasn't sure that the VW would carry as much as I needed. I don't know if it was badly marketed or just aimed at a market segment that didn't really exist in the US where gas is relatively cheap and the roads are a bit more spacious. I tried the Tiguan too but I didn't really enjoy driving it.
When VW decided to move the SportWagen from Jetta to Golf, it seemed like a natural move. However, VW's marketing folks did what they like to do best, stick with the vehicle to sell itself. Look at the Atlas and the Tiguan (3-row) and you will see lots of dollars being put into the issue. However, if you were to look at the updated and moved SportWagen, you would see little in the way of advertising or promotion. To VW, apparently, with its top-down marketing strategy, if the downlist cars didn't support themselves, they didn't get any added money. In other times, it was a good strategy, but, when VW ran across the U.S. market in any seriousness they didn't know how to market here and they didn't know what to do about nice vehicles like the SportWagen (even the Arteon top-of-the-line-model doesn't get much). VW did try and still tries its top-down approach, but when it hits the North American continent, they just don't know what to do. It is a good strategy in So. Africa where they are big sellers, but with the amount of compeititon here, they should be leaving it to the U.S. marketing machine which does know how to market that's why Tiguan (3-row) and Atlas are selling reasonably. I dread what happens if Wolfsburg takes over the marketing of a reported two-row -- and possible pickup -- model. If it does its usual top-down-hands-off thing, it will be, next model. The only sticker in this might be if Ford takes over marketing and development of models here. Frankly, I don't see the I.D. series of vehicles, no matter how retro and cute they are, doing much, either.
Virtually no competition? Are you kidding? The Buick Regal TourX is going to continue to give the Outbacks a serious run for their money
Nobody accept your grandpappy wants a GM, much less a Buick.
Anyone willing to compromise "coolness" to get a Subaru Outback should at least consider the Buick Regal TourX. First of all, have you seen it? It looks way sexier than an OB. Secondly, these "GM" wagons are actually German made, formerly the Opel factory, so it's kind of a badge-engineered situation, kind of. Definitely not your typical domestic. It's a phenomenal vehicle. And it comes standard with a turbo for the same price as a base model non turbo outback. Do your homework
The TourX is a nice enough car. But it sure doesn't give the Outback a run for its money in sales, which is the only metric that counts as far as competition goes. The TourX is not as capable, not as fuel efficient, and from what they've shown of the 2020 Outback, not a giant leap ahead of the Subaru in terms of interior luxury and infotainment either. So while it's a nice car, and while it's competition for Volvo and Audi's similar products, it's not real competition for the Outback.
Sales isn't the only metric that matters, how much car you get for your money is another way to look at it because we're not all car salesmen we're consumers. The TourX is more fuel efficient than the turbo outback, for the same money as the non turbo outback. It's more luxurious with more standard options dollar for dollar, you simply can't compare the non turbo outback to the TourX at all, the performance is better and capability is equal to that of the outback. Off-road not withstanding, as a daily driver it does everything the outback does and it's a more polished vehicle. So you're entitled to your opinion, but your opinion isn't fact. It's possible to have the opinion that the TourX is a better deal for your money and I do have that opinion. And remember, it's a German car not an American one so there's that. Time will tell, Subaru has not been so great with the reliability lately and frankly their cvt sucks
This is a joke right?
You seem to be forgetting the mothership of the wagons...Volvo.
10 years ago.
I honestly believe that much of the Subaru "allure" is a certain group of buyers who are enamored with the brand and anything they market. While I don't doubt there is a sizable group of outsiders who cross the line regularly, the core group are proud to show their badges of how many they've owned, 3, 4, 5 and more. There are entire families that all drive a Subaru and only a Subaru. I've always been enamored over them since way back to the Subaru 360, although my first and probably only Subie was an '11 Outback we purchased new as a "last car" for out retirement. It currently has 102,000 miles on it and is going strong. I have no reason to get another vehicle, at least no in the foreseeable future. If I do, it's likely going to be another Subaru, of that I am certain.
Nothing against it but the outback isn't really a wagon, sure it used to be but it's virtually indistinguishable from a crossover these days. I own an alltrack and I'd go so far as to say that vw could have done better had they offered the larger Passat version. After almost two years with it, I feel the pull towards a Volvo or allroad.
In terms of size, their competitor is the Forester, not the Outback.
Up to this moment in our time, I have been a very satisfied owner of a 2009 VW Jetta Sportswagon. What a special, utilitarian vehicle! We've made a number of moves in it, hauled 10 foot lumber, and transported people with groceries each and every month. Until VW Corporate realizes that there has been a big market, in the United States, for the European models, I think that my next car will be a Subaru. Corporate sales people, planners, financial specialists, CEO's, and investors seem to ever change. Car enthusiasts and driver's expectations remain fairly consistent throughout time. I'm 63.5 years old..VW, thanks for a good run.
Don't get the 2020. Give them a year or two to work out the kinks. It's a completely new platform.
Was very impressed with the handling of the VW Alltrac. In my humble opinion, more than held it's own compared to my 2019 Outback..On that note, the Outback' sengine sounded almost like my 2004 Forester along with the wind noise from the front windows.. Looking forward to major advances in the 2020 Outback .
I own a 2015 SportWagen SEL and love it. Would have liked to get an Alltrack but it wasn't available til 2016; needed car in 2015! Of course sales have fallen; it's design is exactly the same in 2019 as it was in 2015! I think a fresh design in 2020 would have helped immensely. And as others mentioned, support it with advertising. The SUV-CUV craze hasn't helped matters but Subaru seems to make it work. I see a new compact CUV, Tarek, will be coming out to help fill the void of the SportWagen and Alltrack in the USA as it will be pretty much the same size and also built on the MQB platform with slightly higher ground clearance. The difference? It will be highly pushed and advertised as an SUV-CUV. Because of that and its newness, people will automatically love it and flock to it, VW hopes. It might be my only choice. At least VW still designs vehicles in good taste, not like the Japanese monster mobiles. Just hope VW doesn't cheapen the interiors. Most people riding in my car can't believe it's a VW Golf, more Audi-like.