So Much Winning: Even With Cars Tanking, Subaru Hits Another Record

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
so much winning even with cars tanking subaru hits another record

We’ve seen this kind of meteoric rise before, so it’s our duty to tell Subaru to “just say no” to drugs. Let’s not have this end in heartbreak for all the fans.

With that important announcement out of the way, it’s time to toss around some numbers — which, at Subaru of America, are quite positive. Despite an industry that sank over 3 percent overall, and with one less selling day than July 2017, last month was the brand’s best July in history, which followed its best June, and May, and… you get the picture. The first half of 2018 was Subaru’s best sales half to date.

Helping the brand achieve a 6.7 percent year-over-year sales increase was the arrival of Subaru’s largest vehicle to date. Go figure, Americans seem to like it.

In its first full month on the market, Subaru unloaded 4,589 Ascents. The turbocharged three-row midsize crossover seemed, upon launch, to be just the weapon the brand needed to do battle in a hotly contested segment. Spacious, approachable, not polarizing, but not entirely unoriginal, either. That model’s sales figure nearly reaches the combined number of Legacy and WRX/STI sedans sold in July.

However, there’s still a long way to go before pillars start toppling. The Toyota Highlander sold 21,159 units in July. Ford sold 22,782 Explorers. Honda offloaded 13,065 Pilots. That’s heavy-duty volume, but there’s no way of knowing at this early point where the Ascent might end up.

Looking at lower-volume rivals, Nissan sold 5,303 Pathfinders last month, placing the big Subaru within striking distance. Hyundai, which doesn’t break down its sales as much as we’d like, sold a combined total of 8,275 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sports. Where the larger of the two vehicles actually ended up on the sales charts is anyone’s guess.

What’s more impressive about July is Subaru’s ability to make such gains in the face of sinking passenger car sales. It seems to add just the right product at the right time.

Over the first seven months of 2018, Subaru’s U.S. sales rose 6 percent, even as its car models declined — the Legacy by 18.2 percent, YTD, the Impreza by 11 percent, and the WRX/STI by 10.2 percent. You can guess which direction the BRZ headed. Even the soon-to-be-revamped Forester crossover fell 9.9 percent, year to date. That meant heavy lifting for the remaining models.

While the legendary Outback remains just barely in the black on a YTD basis, sales dropped 8.4 percent in July, year over year. So, where exactly is this record month’s additional volume coming from? From the Ascent, but most importantly from the wildly popular Crosstrek. Subaru’s hatchback on stilts saw a 58.9 percent year-over-year sales increase last month, with sales over the first seven months of 2018 up a whopping 69.2 percent.

At this time last year, the Crosstrek recorded about half the volume of its bigger Outback sibling. This year, it’s covered more than half the sales ground separating the two. So popular is the little Crosstrek, it’s nipping at the Forester’s heels.

When rumors crop up about Ford (or any other manufacturer) turning their passenger cars into sort-of crossovers, this is why they’re believable.

[Images: © 2018 Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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  • Probert Probert on Aug 04, 2018

    Just a note for proper usage: "So much winning" is an ironic term that refers to failures. It stems from Trump referring to his string of abject failures as "winning". Just want to avoid mission creep on this term, since Subaru is actually "winning". (of course this due to Trump's tariffs, tax give away, and immigration policy I'm sure...cuz I'm sure he'll hold it up as an example of American companies succeeding. Oy)

  • Bullnuke Bullnuke on Aug 04, 2018

    It would be interesting to see a reliable sales chart for three-row vehicles for monthly data. Atlas vs Ascent vs... etc. GoodCarBadCar has become pretty useless lately.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.