Subaru Says Bigger Cars Key to Success, Looks to Boost Fuel Economy

Subaru boothSubaru has been on a roll in the U.S. Sales rose 22% in 2010 compared with the previous year. And through the first two months of 2011, sales are tracking 20% higher, outselling brands like Chrysler and Mazda.

Rising gas prices — the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.52, according to AAA — could shift consumers' attention back to fuel efficiency and the smaller cars that deliver it, but Subaru points to its bigger car lineup for its sales success.

Car shoppers thought the automaker's previous Legacy sedan and Forester crossover were too small, said Michael McHale, Subaru's director of corporate communications. Recent redesigns have made both models larger, adding appreciable interior room. McHale also credits some of the success to a reorganization of its U.S. sales regions. "[The change] means we're a bit more in touch with the market," he said.

Fuel efficiency is becoming more important for all automakers, and Subaru has established some initiatives to improve the mileage of its models. A new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is on the way, and it will achieve 30 percent better gas mileage than the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that currently powers many Subarus, McHale said.

In a model like the Forester, which has a combined EPA rating of 23 mpg, that type of increase would result in a 30 mpg combined rating with the new engine and other fuel-saving technologies, such as continuously variable automatic transmissions. Further down the road, Subaru expects to launch its first hybrid in 2013 as a 2014 model.

Even though familiar Subaru models have undergone growth spurts in recent years, one of the automaker's upcoming models will be comparatively tiny. Subaru's version of the small sports car it's developing with Toyota — it’s been seen in Toyota guise as the FT-86 concept — is set to arrive in 2012. McHale says the car is similar in size to the Mazda MX-5 Miata and will retain the rear-wheel-drive layout seen in the Toyota as opposed to Subaru's customary all-wheel drive.

By Mike Hanley | March 10, 2011 | Comments (8)
Tags: Subaru



Although I personally do not like the design of the new Subarus or the new Hyundais, it is impressive to watch their performance. They've listened to customers but still put design front and center, while delivering a high-quality product that is affordable and trustworthy. Are you listening, Chrysler and VW?


Will a new focus on larger Subarus mean that the next Tribeca might actually have a usable third row?


They already make an outback that gets 30% better mileage. Just bring the diesel to the US already!


An Impreza with a CVT and not the antiquated 4-speed plus fuel economy similar to a Civic or Corolla will skyrocket their sales.


I don't want a larger car..... I want a diesel in the US.


Wow! So, Subaru might FINALLY release a new model that gets as good gas mileage (30 mpg)as does our 1999 Legacy wagon?

What a joke, the UAE is so desperate to keep their oil up in $$ that they are forcing the car deanships like Subaru to stay behind. Dominate share holders in Subaru are from the UAE and middle east also russia.


@Rocco, an Atkinson cycle gas engine is nearly as efficient as diesel and less maintenance (less emissions equipment).

I am hoping for a hybrid Subaru Forester, Outback and WRX in the coming years. Eventually plug-in models as battery prices allow.

It'll make people like me actually feel like wanting these cars. I love the AWD system but their drivetrains need to improve.

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