Subaru Puts Customers First, New Forester Second

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Subaru has a new motto: "The customer comes first." As proof of their dedication to this promise, they extolled the virtues of their new Forester. Apparently, it was the "first crossover"– even though the Japanese automaker's marketed the model for years as a SUV. The latest iteration of the slab-sided Subie is no longer so slab sided; it's longer, wider and taller. BUT a tighter turning radius makes it easier to park! Other changes include a larger rear seat (that reclines), more torque in both the regular and turbo engines and a new rear suspension. The only question left unanswered is this: if customers now come first, where the Hell did they fall in Subaru's previous hierarchy?

[Reported by Sajeev Mehta]

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  • Volvo Volvo on Jan 14, 2008

    To Megan Just went to Edmunds and ran comparison module. Cheapest Rogue with Stability Control $20570 Cheapest Forester with Stablility Control $27995. Do I want leather, 230+ hp premium gas engine? No. This is what I mean by Subaru's problem for me. I agree that a CVT is less than optimal but I can live with it. Probably no worse than Subaru's decades old 4 speed. Sticks been there done that. I am a Subaru fan but think thay are missing a large part of the market. Cheers

  • Whatdoiknow1 Whatdoiknow1 on Jan 14, 2008

    It is a sad fact but auto-makers and auto-dealers generally can careless what the "fans" of the brand like so much about their cars. The Subaru dealer is concerned about all of those potential costumers that walked out of the Subie dealer and made deal in the Local Toyota/ Honda dealer. Honestly Subarus in there current state do have a great deal of drawbacks to them that amount to NO sale for too many subie dealers today. Toping the list is that Subarus are about the last of the Japanese cars sold in America that are still design for Japanese demographics. They are small inside with rather limited FRONT leg room. Subarus all come AWD whether you need it or not. The interior quality is cut below the class leaders. The fuel economy sucks. The base engine is weak. The turbo engine does NOT appeal to mainstream buyers, nor does it work well with the autobox. Who the hell wants a 4pd auto box in a $28,000 car? Outside of the Legeacy their vehicles are UGLY! With that said the Subie fans need to Chill-out! If Subaru was to continue to cater to this crowd it will be dead in less than ten years.

  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Jan 14, 2008

    There is no reason to think they can't current Subaru fans and expand it's market more, but I don't think they are going to do that the way they have been trying. Exactly why does the world need another Camry/Accord clone, Subaru does some nice things very well and they don't need to water that down to TRY and pick up Camry blandmobile buyers. I agree the 4-speed auto sucks, but that has to be fixed regardless of who they are targetting. The base engine is pretty nice, way better with more character than Toyota's, almost on par with Honda's offerings. Sure it doesn't get great gas mileage by that is due to the fultime AWD not the engine, just ask the people with the old FWD models. The exteriors have been all over the place lately it makes the company look worse than when it had a quirky but cohesive design theme. The interiors do need some work but not the way these new ones look, cheap and disorganized in thought. A hodgepodge of copied bits and pieces from the likes of Ford/Toyota/Honda/Chrysler makes the company look like Suzuki not Toyota. They can go after a new market of buyers but if they alienate their original audience in the process they stand to lose a lot of the customers that put them in the place they have been recently, which could be a pretty heavy hit to their profit margin.

  • Martin Albright Martin Albright on Jan 14, 2008

    Hmmm...that photo makes it look an awful lot like a Highlander. Too bad as I thought the 2003-07 Forester had a very "balanced" look to it. As far as claims of poor gas mileage, compared to what? The Forester's numbers are about equal to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4, its closest competitors. Funny to hear Subaru characterized as a "niche player." That may be true in some parts of the country but here in Colorado they are mainstream, big time. You can't swing a dead cat in this state without hitting two dozen of them.