Subaru and L.L.Bean Part Company

2009 Forester L.L. Bean

After an eight-year relationship, Subaru and L.L.Bean, a retailer of high-end outdoor gear, have had an amicable split, Subaru spokesman Dominick Infante said.

"The decision to part was mutual. We both decided it was time and made sense to go our own way,” he said. “L.L.Bean is a great company, but we wanted to expand our own brand appeal."

The marriage of L.L.Bean's rugged-outdoors line of clothing and accessories and the equally strong rugged-outdoors image of an all-wheel-drive Subaru might have made sense in 2000, but it was time to attract a few more city slickers, Infante said.

"We have been doing very well on the East Coast and in ski states, but want to expand more into sunshine states like Texas, Florida and California," he said. We think Subaru has far outpaced L.L.Bean in terms of name identity among consumers.

So, starting in July, the L.L.Bean Outback and Forester will become Limited models instead. There will still be L.L.Bean editions of the Forester and Outback available at dealerships until all are sold. The redesigned 2009 Forester L.L.Bean went on sale just this past April.

By Jim Mateja | June 16, 2008 | Comments (8)

Comments 

eagle2x

Good decision by Subaru to drop the LLBean edition. Automakers don't need special editions of Bean's, King-Rancher's, Harley D's, etc, etc that degrade solid automobile models.

Terry

That was a good move by Subaru. It’s about time they expand their customer base beyond the latte drinking yuppies and DINKS. I've noticed very few minorities driving their cars.

alex

couple of points to make. Terry, the reason why u dont see that many minorities driving subaru is because most minoriries live in the south, and subarus sell mostly in ski county and east coast. The reason why they are dropping ll bean is because they want to expand into the south and the rest of the nation, so they can attract more buyers, and im assuming they dont care weather they are minority of not. Subaru is the most underated make in america, excellent cars, just too narrow of a base, they need to grow

Happymantis

Alex, although most blacks live in the south, minorities do not mean simply black people. They refer to Asians and Latinos, as well as many other kinds of people. I'm Indian and I was strongly considering buying an Impreza recently, but opted for the Toyota RAV4 because of its combination of greater space, ground clearance and fuel economy. But its true that most Subaru owners are white because the places where they are most commercially successful are states with homogeneous white populations. But if Subaru can market its products well enough, a greater variety of people will drive Subarus, because they simply are great cars.

J

So what actual difference was made?

Six

Since when is LL Bean a retailer of high-end outdoor gear?

They make a $44 sleeping bag. The top end LL Bean brand "expedition" backpack is $149.

Whereas, at a place like REI, the Gregory Denali Pro Expedition pack is $459.

Bear

Although I truly loved the edition and thought they were a great pair, I can understand the split. It is kind of a heartbreak though b/c those are some of my favorites brands of car and clothing companies. Mixing them was great, but again the split will bring forth new sales for them.

PSB

Good idea to drop this LL Bean edition. I agree with the assessment of LL Bean, definitely doesn't improve Subaru's brand. Even worse than the Bean association was the additional option of a Mcintosh system as part of the package. No Subaru buyer (indeed 99% of the population) would know anything about a product like this and pairing it with Subaru and LL Bean made no sense. Bentley? Fine. Porsche? Fine. Subaru LL Bean addition? Hope someone lost their job at Subaru and Mcintosh over this. Worst co-branding initiative of all time.

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