By on November 13, 2016

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Remember the I Love Lucy sketch when Lucy gets a job at a factory where she has to wrap chocolates? She’s feeling pretty smug over how well she is performing until they accelerate the line and candies begin spilling out onto the floor and she scrambles around trying to save them all.

Well Subaru is suffering from a similar, less hysterical, problem right now with its own quality control.

The Japanese automaker has continued to break its own sales records over the last decade. However, during this rocket ride to planet sales, the company has seen a gradual lapse in quality. There was an influx of recalls this year and the company also saw itself drop six places in this year’s Consumer Reports reliability rating.

Subaru and its parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, don’t want to make a habit of this.

During an interview with Automotive News, Fuji CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said quality was Subaru’s primary concern and the company has begun efforts to avoid future problems while continuing to manage its impressive and consistent growth.

“We’ve always been focusing on quality, but we did have an increase in recalls,” Yoshinaga said. “We’ve assigned a former FHI officer who was in charge of global quality assurance to oversee and enhance Subaru’s quality in the U.S. market.”

Like many rapidly expanding automotive manufacturers, Subaru’s lapse in quality is almost certainly due to its maturation. Growing pains are somewhat inevitable, especially for a company blooming quite as boldly as this one. Subaru has eight consecutive record-breaking years under its belt in North America, and it hasn’t dealt with a singly monthly sales decline since 2011.

The company expects this sales trend to continue well into next year, Yoshinaga told Automotive News, even as he acknowledged that U.S. market demand “has already peaked out.”

Still, the demand has forced Subaru to increase production wherever it can.

“The background of our current situation is Subaru’s rapid sales growth that has caused strain to our U.S. production and to our suppliers,” Yoshinaga said. “Having recalls like we’ve had this year, we realize the strong need to strengthen our effort to ensure high quality.”

The infamous Takata airbag inflator callbacks affecting nearly every major automaker didn’t help, but there was also an increase in Subie-centric recalls this year. Subaru issued a callback of 77,000 Tribeca SUVs due to an unsafe hood latch in February. May had Subaru finding around 48,500 Legacy sedans and Outback wagons that needed problematic steering columns fixed. The biggest recall happened last month, when the company said 100,000 of its turbocharged motors ran the risk of failure and even starting a potential fire.

Consumer Reports seemed more interested in faulting the company for the introduction of buggy electronics and safety systems.

“They were a little slow to adopt the advanced electronics,” Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, told Automotive News. “They slipped from being excellent to quite good. I’m sure they can recover.”

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61 Comments on “Subaru Steps Up Quality Control After Embarrassing Growing Pains...”


  • avatar
    Corollaman

    When you ramp up production, this is what usually happens. GM X cars, anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Many buyers simply uneducated in…[once they picked the make and model] how to pick exact car on the yard. As example, you can go as far as picking a car that was made before or after strike at the factory. Lets say there was a strike and no cars where made for month or two. Finally, workers a back and now they need to catch up a bit. Also, they lost some sharpness. So, don’t buy a car made right after strike.

  • avatar
    Funky

    My anecdotal comment: I had numerous quality issues (weird steering wheel wobble, brakes needing adjustment every 2-3k miles, suspension allowing the rear wheels to break loose when cornering at low speeds on off-ramps, 4 cylinder engine 0-60 time being insufficient to safely merge onto 65MPH highways, broken drivers seat, a lot of corrosion under the hood and underside of vehicle within first 12 months of buying the new vehicle, and I’m sure I am forgetting some things), with my 2010 Subaru Outback Limited (4cyl). I believe and understand the issues noted in this article. My guess is as follows: until now there haven’t been enough Subaru customers to make a loud enough noise in regard to complaints about quality. As their customer base grows, I am sure Subaru will encounter more and more folks who are “empowered” to complain about the quality (or lack thereof) of their vehicles. And, the public will see more articles like this one.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Subaru is highly overrated and these new ones don’t even have AWD they used to. My co-worker at one point this year, fixed engine gaskets on his Outback and paid around $1500 for it. Later same year he bought new Outback. I guess, this is the love they talk about in commercials.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        I think the all-AWD policy was getting silly and counterproductive anyway. At first it was a good “unique selling proposition” that made Subarus stand apart and furthered their popularity in the Northeast and throughout the snow belt. But now that most manufacturers offer AWD on many of their models, forcing AWD on everybody just made Subarus cost more and get worse fuel economy in the South where nobody cares about snow traction.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “4 cylinder engine 0-60 time being insufficient to safely merge onto 65MPH highways”

      Oh give me a break. Maybe we should give you a “safe space” for merging.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        gtemnykh; It was truly awful. Not as bad as the Pontiac T1000, Chevy Chevette, or Oldsmobile Firenza I had the pleasure of driving back in the 1980s, but back in the 1980s the speed limit was only 55MPH and many other vehicles on the road were equally underpowered. Before purchasing the Subaru I did what I thought was a thorough test drive. But, I did not try to merge onto a highway during the test drive. If I had, I would have chosen something else or perhaps the 6 cylinder version of the Outback rather than the 4 cylinder version.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          9.1 0-60 for the 2.5i it looks like. Not quick by any means but perfectly adequate in the context of what else is out on the roads. Let the CVT do its thing and wind the motor out. I drove a ’98 MPV with a 155hp V6 pulling around 4100lb of curb weight through a dimwitted 4spd automatic for several years. Just gotta use that right pedal, the tachometer goes to 5000+RPM for a reason.

          I’ve driven a few of the ’15+ Outbacks, I find the 4cyl ones perfectly agreeable power-wise. Not setting the world on fire, but certainly a lot more responsive than that old Mazda of mine.

          • 0 avatar
            NomNomChomsky

            Ain’t it the truth? I recently helped someone diagnose claims of poor performance. The logs showed they were only using half throttle. Of course it’s not fast if you tell it to not be fast. This is why people pay $300 for the ‘sprint booster’ – because they aren’t comfortable using full power.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            9.1 seconds 0-60 is with one driver, a perfect day on a level road and nice cool and dense air outside according to one particular magazine test. Then you encounter a hill or long grade, have the A/C turned on because it’s 90 degrees outside and 3 friends or family members are riding along with you. Then that 9.1 second time quickly turns into 14 seconds or longer. That is the problem with small displacement low torque engines in heavy cars with AWD that burst of power just isn’t there when you want it. And I’m speaking from experience having had the pleasure of driving a Crosstrek with it’s wheezy 2.0 with 4 of us on board and the A/C running in my friend’s brothers car over the Summer. It was for sure underpowered.

      • 0 avatar
        Old Man Pants

        “Maybe we should give you a “safe space” for merging.”

        Yes, please!

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Something must be up with their engine (or electrics), if I can get a Volvo 240 wagon up to 60 going uphill, with AC blowing, I think a modern Subaru is more than capable.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      “4 cylinder engine 0-60 time being insufficient to safely merge onto 65MPH highways”

      Yeah, give me a break too. My 50hp ’72 Beetle merges unto freeway without huge issues and your 150hp Subaru couldn’t?

      Also, your Outback was the first year for then-new gen Legacy so it’s not surprising it had some issues. My ’12 WRX had a few minor niggles when I bought it but generally has been very reliable. And (believe it or not) merging time onto 65MPH freeways is acceptable with it too.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Consumer reports last summer was first to use Subaru as an oil consumption problem. It wasn’t electronics that were buggy as the radio in my then fiancé’s reminded me of 1999 Saab 9-5 it was such low tech.

    • 0 avatar
      Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

      Try putting some air in the tires. Squishy tires really reduce performance and handling.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Don’t kid yourself, Subaru has always had major quality issues with the drive line. It is just now that they are mainstream people are starting to notice. The Subaru loyal fans always accepted that head gaskets were going to blow, timing belts were going to snap, and they were going to get outdated underpowered drive trains that get bad fuel economy. The only advantage that Subaru has is marketing to the right groups, safety, i.e. selling a car with a high strength steel cage, and that’s it. Their AWD system is no longer what it once was.

    Ditch the boxer and go to a cleansheet V-4 turbo, it will still work with symmetric AWD, and bring back a true locking center differential that can be controlled by the driver, with two disconnect points you can put a clutch pack and a dog clutch combo on each side of the drive shaft so that you can select full time AWD by locking everything or AWD on demand..

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      V-4? I guess that would cement their reputation for quirky, odd-ball engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      Boxer engines have a natural balance with no countershaft needed. Why mess with a good thing

      • 0 avatar
        asapuntz

        sure, but compared to an I-4 it has 2 heads, 2 valve trains, 2 timing belts/chains, 2 head gaskets, 2 valve cover gaskets … complexity, friction, costs …

        I expect that the TPS can be used to get a handle on their issues, but I would think that long-term they could address both fuel economy and a reliability issues by switching to Toyota’s hybrid powertrains.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          Yeah, two heads, double the camshafts and belts/chains, double the valve covers and gaskets. This is why cars with V8’s and V6’s aren’t made anymore – old stupid tech.

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    I’ll take “embarrassment” like Subie’s been having the past several years.

    “Oh Noes! I smells like moneys!”

  • avatar
    gottacook

    My understanding is that the manual-transmission Subaru AWD system is, and has been for 25+ years, a 50-50 split with a viscous coupling at the center differential, whereas there have been changes to the system in CVT-equipped cars. See http://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/not-every-subaru-all-wheel-drive-system-is-created-equal.

    I like the boxer engines in our three Subarus. I prefer the older models like the ones we have (i.e., the frameless-window cars, such as pre-’10 Legacy/Outback and pre-’09 Forester) and can’t speak for new Subaru buyers, but I think many of them would be buying the same cars even if there were no advertising at all.

    Personal experience with the gasket issue: Seven years ago we brought our ’03 Legacy 5-speed wagon in to our dealer for a coupon oil change; the service department noticed a leak and replaced the gasket on Subaru’s dime, even though the car was “officially” out of warranty – that is, the car had passed 5 years but hadn’t reached 60K miles yet. No problems with our ’06 and ’07 Foresters (5-speed with 110K miles and auto with 75K, respectively).

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Auto News failed to mention a Subaru TSB that affects a number of the new FA Turbo engine vehicles, in which the left side of the engine’s valves and camshaft suffer excessive short term wear and require rebuilding. My ’14 XT was one of those: local dealer was courteous and provided free loaner, but still took two weeks to rebuild engine’s left bank.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Subaru owners are a loyal bunch. I’d go so far as to compare them with the VW faithful. If they can keep the service experience a positive one, Subaru’s quality control issues, if caught and corrected, should have little impact on sales.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    My brother just had to replace 3 out of 4 wheel bearings on a ’09 Forester with 97k miles that his friend just bought. One of the headgaskets is weeping oil already but not critical yet. The friend is going to get the HGs done along with a t-belt service in one fell swoop. Even with my brother’s very fair rates, using good quality parts the bearings are $300/corner, the HG+t-belt job that’ll be a good chunk of change as well. The car also had a severe water intrusion issue traced back to simply missing wheel well liner clips and water getting flung up into that small hole and pooling in the floorboards. Brake lines already look pretty rusty (there is a TSB on the rear ones rusting out). Despite all that even my brother still likes them, mostly for their combination of utility+visibility+manual transmission availability, you just need to go into Subaru ownership with eyes open. They’re not bad to work on either (yeah yeah sparkplugs suck to get at). He mentioned that overall his impression compared to the older cars (late 90s-early 2000s) was that there’s been some decontenting going on not only in terms of interior materials, but also in less visible areas.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Good grief I hope he got it for almost free with all of those issues. That one sounds seriously neglected for an ’09.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        $8k, negotiated down from $8,700 asking for the howling wheel bearing and rattly exhaust heat shields noted during the test drive (they drove out to Pittsburgh to get it IIRC). It’s funny to talk about it this way, but that’s a “good deal” in Subaru country.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I have a hard time with used Forester pricing, because I think of what else you can get for the money. Guess it’s one of those times like the XC70 – the Forester is what you want, and you must enter that sphere with your money, ready to play.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Thinking about it, I’m not exactly sure what else of a similar age you could get that’s an AWD wagon/CUV thing for that money and mileage. CRV/Rav4 will definitely be more, maybe a Rogue or Patriot? I’m part of the Patriot Internet Defense Leauge (PIDL) but even I would gladly take a stick shift Forester over a Patriot, wheel bearings and head gaskets be damned.

            Speaking of Rogues, my brother’s wife’s ’10 rolled over 173k recently, CVT in fine health on its original fluid fill (fluid is still clean and usable). It’s proven quite reliable, with only a wheel bearing so far, and most recently a faulty side airbag module that proved very painful dealing with the dealer: $500 quote for diagnostics that my brother had already done himself in 10 minutes prior to going to the dealer, TSB for the same issue on ’08s lists book time as 1.4 hours for full diagnosis and replacement.

  • avatar
    Notmyname

    Maybe Subaru’s sketchy turbo charged engine is why it’s not in the BRZ/86. Toyota probably looked at it and didn’t want to risk it.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    A buddy traded in his older, higher mileage Camry for a newer, less driven Outback and has had problems ever since, A/C broke, oil leaking, tires wear out unevenly plus it’s rough and noisy. he is one sorry dude.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    Ive always thought that Subarus were more hype than substance. Head gaskets inevitably fail and they drive like crap. Try turning one around in a tight space….hop hop hop…lol

  • avatar
    Jeff Zekas

    Our ’99 Impreza has 250K miles- reliable, no head gasket problems- just replaced the timing belt every 105K miles and did oil changes.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I own a 2007 Legacy GT Wagon and became a Subaru fan right away. My wife drove it once and went out and bought a 2009 LGT of her own.
    She’s been pretty fortunate. Her only real issue is the melting dashboard that Subaru has agreed to replace… eventually. Though she’ll probably fall under the exploding relay recall when that happens.
    My car hasn’t been quite so fortunate. I bought it certified used with 32k miles in Feb 2010 and the day after I got it home it threw CELs which took them 2 tries and several non-loaner car days to fix. It was a common issue with the intake manifold gasket.
    Subaru NA agreed to cover my first CV boot failure despite saying it wasn’t covered by the certification. My argument was that it states drivetrain seals are covered, how is a CV boot not a seal? I guess it worked.
    I had a wheel bearing go bad before 50k miles but after the warranty term. There was a recall on 2005-2006 models. Since mine is a 2007 they would agree to cover half the cost if I had the dealer fix it – which would have cost me about $300. I fixed it myself for $80.
    My second CV boot was taken care of on my own. I had a local indy fix it.
    I had the Takata airbag recall and melted dashboard warranty extension taken care of…. eventually. I called about the airbag in January and they finally fixed both issues in August and only because I was calling regularly to get a status update. They at least gave me a loaner this time.
    I’m sure I’ll be part of the explosive air pump relay recall too.
    The clearcoat has failed on all the plastic parts on the car.
    I am not subject to the fuel line corrosion recall because I don’t live in a salt state – despite living less than 3/4 of a linear mile from Maryland where it would be covered, and despite my state very much using salt.
    My driver’s door has some rust starting to form despite my meticulous cleaning regiment.
    There are interior rattles all the time. I recently fixed the major ones and new ones have formed in their places.
    It has 72k miles as of today.

    I’ve been lucky compared to a lot of folks. But I still live in a fairly constant state of fear that something catastrophic is going to happen. Turbo failure has been known to start happening right around my miles. But I’ll tell you what, whenever I drive it in the snow, all that goes away and I fall in love all over again.

    I won’t be buying another Subaru (largely since they stopped making cars I care about) and I’ve stopped recommending them to everyone like I did when I had only had it a couple years.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      My Experience Exactly. I’ve owned a few Subarus since 1981, the last being a 1999 Outback wagon bought used with 84k on it. Subaru Outcash. Here’s a summary of my problems with the last one, the ‘99, in just 30k miles:

      Bad chassis vibration at 3000RPM.
      A/C compressor fried, contaminating the whole system.
      Transmission leaks, corrosion of filter/body, and in the end, poor shifting.
      Rear wiper froze up.
      Weird, snap oversteer at a certain steering input, like you crossed a fulcrum.
      Aluminum wheels that leaked air.
      Mediocre mileage drops more than normal in cold weather
      Poor cold driveability.
      Speedometer works intermittently.
      Dash lights burned out.
      Power window switches failed.
      Seat bolster’s foam crumbled.
      AWD system is simply FWD till the fronts spin wildly, thus offering no directional stability in snow.
      Rear liftgate handle corrodes and become inoperative.
      And of course that lovely, expensive timing belt (Otherwise known as the ‘Subaru dealership owner’ boat payment)
      …and I dumped at a $8k loss as a trade-in, after four years and 30k miles ownership, and am glad it is gone.

      Subaru confuses “Love” with “Rape”

      I will never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, buy one again.

      So what if the swelling population of sheep buy it?

      Hey Fuji CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga: Subaru never put quality as a priority. Assigning a new executive chimp “oversee and enhance Subaru’s quality in the U.S. market” is simply corporate communication BS.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “Mediocre mileage drops more than normal in cold weather”

        Welcome to the world of “true” AWD. There’s a lot of extra friction-causing elements, all with lubricants that thicken in cold temperatures.

        “AWD system is simply FWD till the fronts spin wildly, thus offering no directional stability in snow.”

        No it isn’t, and no it didn’t, unless there was something wrong mechanically.

        ” that lovely, expensive timing belt”

        They’re actually pretty easy to change given the longitudinal engine orientation. If the dealer charges too much, find a reasonable indie to do it (most any shop would be able to do it given the ease of access).

        You’ll see my comments elsewhere in the thread, I’m no Subaru fanatic and am very familiar with their weak points. But that’s no reason to dogpile with a bunch of B.S. “issues.”

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          “AWD system is simply FWD till the fronts spin wildly, thus offering no directional stability in snow.”
          Automatic Subarus of that time were split 90-10, throwing the rear wheels into motion should the car slip. Manuals used a more robust 50-50 system.

        • 0 avatar
          EAF

          ” that lovely, expensive timing belt”

          They’re actually pretty easy to change given the longitudinal engine orientation. If the dealer charges too much, find a reasonable indie to do it (most any shop would be able to do it given the ease of access).

          Good point, however, the labor rate will fluctuate depending on whether or not the cam seals require replacing. For some odd reason (cheap junk), the allen cam bolts like to strip when removing the cam gears for cam seal access.

          Drill bits, extractors, vice grips and even a welder may or may not be involved. It is a real PITA even if Subaru factory tools are applied.

          As I’ve said 100 times, I would never buy a Subaru unless it is free or well below risidual value. I too would prefer a Forester over a Patriot.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        WOW, someone bought a flood car.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      @Land Ark,
      I’ve had fewer problems than you (05 LGT 98k) but agree they stopped making cars I’m interested in. It’s still a blast to drive, but the nagging fear of impending mechanical doom is real. The main reason I still own it is that all replacement ideas fit either; expensive or boring.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        And the ’05s are supposed to be the bad ones. Glad you’ve avoided most of the bad issues. You’ll also avoid the relay recall since they put the air pump in to replace the up pipe cat which was causing all the problems in the 05-06es.

        I can’t bring myself to replace it because it really hasn’t been THAT bad. I haven’t been stranded on the side of the road or anything.
        Of course, this morning I was driving to work and it nearly stalled twice just as it was reaching operating temps. So, that’ll be fun to try to chase.

        It’s definitely soured me on turbo engines. Which couldn’t come at a worse time in automotive history.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Land Ark….mother of god..you are a patient man/woman/person.

      Your 07′ Subie sounds like a nightmare. I have a bought used 1.5 years ago Wrangler, bought at 72k miles now has 85k miles. Rear main seal leaks oil, I complete the expensive repair of switching out the box from Costco every 3 weeks underneath it.

      I can’t believe I am going to say this, but you might consider a Mopar product. I have owned 3 (Chrysler T&C 5.5 years, Dodge Ram diesel 7 years, Jeep Wrangler 1.5 years) and collectively have had less issues with them than the 9 MONTHS I owned a brand new 2002 WRX Wagon 5 MT.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        For what it’s worth, my brother’s friend owned an ’02 WRX Wagon since new, ran it up to 210k with pretty neglectful maintenance (deferred oil changes) before it finally put a rod through the block from an oil starvation event. Minimal issues from what I recall, don’t know specifics about CV boots and wheel bearings. He ended up having my brother swap in a used motor despite it not being the most economically sound thing to do because he liked the car so much (another example of that Subaru “love”).

      • 0 avatar
        Pinzgauer

        Gotta agree. People trash Chrysler reliability but I seem to have great luck with them. They tend to need minor, easy to DIY repairs sometimes but I have not had any major problems over the years. Any parts I have needed have been very cheap and easy to replace in the driveway. Matter of fact my entire fleet will soon be all FCA (2011 T&C, 2013 RAM 1500, 2016 Challenger, looking for 2013-2015 Dart GT). All have been excellent vehicles at a great price.

  • avatar
    Hoon Goon

    Anyway, Subarus are enthusiast’s cars, as in you have to be enthusiastic about the brand to put up with the “quirks”. I will never own any Subaru newer than my ’07 STi. Turbo, LSDs all around, solid 6-speed, Brembos, forged BBS, aluminum control arms and rear lateral links, huge wang, NO traction control, NO TPMS, NO sound tubes or crap through the speakers, hydraulic power steering, always in race mode, etc. I love the thing and feel it is one of the last of the old school Japanese beasts.

    I bought it in ’10 with 35K miles and will keep it until one of my boys is responsible enough to own it. Mine is pretty highly modded, but I have kept the exterior as stock as I can. WRB on gold looks so good to me. Now I am fawning over it. It’s a disease.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I don’t think of Subaru as one of the high-quality Japanese brands, unlike Honda and Toyota. Not all Japanese cars are bulletproof, but I suppose many people believe or assume otherwise.

    While it’s true that a boxer engine has inherently more moving parts, I’m not sure that’s a reason it should be fragile. The VW Boxer 4 cylinder engine was pretty indestructible and did not have head gasket problems. Admittedly, it probably ran at a lower compression ration than the Subie. OTOH, being air cooled, it probably experienced a much wider range of operating temperatures than a water cooled engine. Speaking of which, why is it essential that the boxer engine be overhead cam? The VW boxer engine was OHV. There are many competent OHV engines on the market today, including, for example, the GM V-8s. Having the cam in the block would certainly eliminate a lot of failure points.

    • 0 avatar
      JamesGarfield

      @DC BRUCE:

      You asked why all boxer engines have to be Overhead Cam. Actually they don’t. My experience with Subarus goes back to a few decades ago. My 1’st car was a 71 FF1. 2’nd was an 82 DL Hatch. 3’rd was an 88 GL Wagon. Loved each of them, quirks and all.

      Subarus of the 70’s and up till mid 80’s used the EA61 (1100cc) and EA71 (1600cc) boxer engines, a pushrod design with a gear-driven camshaft located underneath the crankshaft. If you’re thinking to yourself about now “Wait a minute… that engine design sounds just like a… ” You’re right. It’s just like the original VW Beatle engine. Subaru copied the basic design of the air-cooled Beetle engine, made it water cooled, and put it in front. It was such a direct copy, in fact, that reportedly major components such as pistons and crankshafts were interchangable.

      Well, VW eventually learned of this copying, and sued Subaru (Fuji) for patent infringement. VW won, and Subaru was forced to change their engine design. Hence in the mid-late 80’s, we have the EA81 engine, which is still a 4cyl boxer layout, but with Overhead Cam.

      The EA61 was a solid engine, but at 1100cc, just too tiny for practicality.

      The EA71 at 1600cc was a bulletproof motor. Not a pavement burner by any means, but it would go forever.

      The EA81 with OHC bumped the displacement up to 1800cc. Keep up with oil changes and valve cover gaskets, and it was a solid if humble motor.

      The next gen 2.2L was a good runner, until Subaru shot themselves in the foot by boring the cylinders out to 2.5L. That allowed the tops of the cylinders to ‘walk’ because they didn’t have enough lateral support from the head gaskets– hence the horrible HG failures of that generation.

      I was a Subie fanboi for 30 years. My belov’d Pokuntsu-San has gone to the crusher, but I miss it still.

  • avatar
    rcx141

    Over the past 10 years or so my brother in law has had three. All of them temperamental money pits. Yet still he loves them and has no problem dropping $1,500 when some bit of plastic melts or a belt snaps.

    Over the same period of time, I’ve had a Ford Taurus, two Chrysler 300s and a Ford Mustang GT. Total money spent on repairs: $0.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Were your BIL’s cars the same age when in service as yours were? 4 new cars in 10 years with no money spent on repairs is hardly remarkable. In warranty vs. maintaining older cars will yield costs in different columns. You don’t mention the ages of his or yours, so I’ll assume the least remarkable case that fits.

  • avatar
    mister steve

    The only Subaru plant outside of Japan is in Lafayette, Indiana. That plant has been open since the late ’80s, and produced mostly the Legacy and Outback.

    Shortly after GM divested itself of its Subaru investment, Toyota bought into the company. The Lafayette plant produced the Camry from 2007 until this year (70,000 units in 2015), when they ended Toyota production there in order to meet Subaru demand.

    That plant should have been able to transition to higher Subaru production numbers without a loss in quality.

    I wonder if Subaru is maybe playing the blame game a bit here. Are the defects engineering/design or production related?

    For my own little anecdata, I’ve owned two Subies, both purchased new. My ’95 Legacy wagon, built in Indiana, was a strong runner and had absolutely no oil consumption issues with its 2 liter engine. On the down side, it ate brake rotors and had rust issues starting in its 8th year.

    I replaced the Legacy with a 2004 Forester, built in Japan. Starting at about 60k miles the 2.5 engine leaked oil at the head. From hanging around the brand forums, it was clear this was a common issue that the company wouldn’t acknowledge.

    That Subaru was my last.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quality problems are nothing new at Subaru who are they kidding? Oil consumption. Buggy electronics. Head gasket and oil leaks. Failed wheels bearings even with low mileage. Have even seen many transmission failures on 2002-2005 examples. Not saying they are horrible cars by any means but I have had far fewer issues by far than most of my friends and colleagues with my last 3 Impalas which went way past 100K with only minor issues and maintenance.

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  • Lie2me: Those Commanders were awful. I was going to trade my Grand Cherokee in on one until I took it for a test...
  • dantes_inferno: FCA’s motto: Dodge testing. RAM into production.
  • teddyc73: Why? Because people like them. Or should I say….Because “people” like “them”....

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  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
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