Dogs Go to Work As the Subaru Crosstrek Seemingly Passes Its Peak

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
dogs go to work as the subaru crosstrek seemingly passes its peak

Spend a few minutes talking to a normal, regular person, and they’ll probably reveal very little knowledge of a vehicle’s mechanics or specs while boasting plenty of knowledge of a brand’s (or vehicle’s) marketing efforts and media coverage.

The general consensus, at least according to your author’s mother, is that dogs help sell cars. Full stop. At the very least, they sprinkle a helping of feel-good fairy dust over a brand, leaving a positive impression of the company in the minds of viewers. Audience manipulation is the sole purpose of advertising.

As Subaru walks away from its most recent sales month with yet another healthy volume increase, however, one model seems to have run out of momentum. It remains to be seen if a heaping helping of dogs can turn it around.

The latest dog-centric Subaru commercials have landed, these ones focusing on the second-most popular model in the lineup: the Crosstrek. A brilliant bit of product planning, the Crosstrek is a lifted Impreza hatch that offers up a crossover-like ride height and standard all-wheel grip with compact dimensions and a not-excessive entry price. When the second-generation model bowed for 2018, sales soared.

By the end of the year, sales rose more than 31 percent. In only two months in 2018 (October, December) did the Crosstrek see its year-over-year sales fall, and those were relatively minor decreases.

Fast-forward to the end of July, 2019, and the model’s, um, ascent has reversed course. Since the beginning of the year, Crosstrek sales have fallen 18.8 percent, with July being the closest the model has come to parity with 2018 thus far. July represents the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year sales losses.

This news would no doubt please this writer’s friend, who griped to no end about the lackluster performance of his borrowed 2019 Crosstrek following a recent family road trip. Torque is not the Crosstrek/Impreza’s strong suit, but it’s hard to deny the model’s attributes.

And so the latest crop of Subaru dog ads target the sympathetic, youthful, puppy-loving Crosstrek intender, with one spot showing the life of a dog, as well as that of its owner (a young woman who doesn’t age) and grumpy, older neighbor (who does). Notice this cute pooch, but also notice our vehicles’ enviable longevity, the ad compels viewers.

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  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Aug 20, 2019

    I still contend Subarus sell because of their trendy outdoor folksy marketing and because people think their vehicles some how transcend all other vehicles in some way. Talk to any Subaru fan boy and they put these cars on a pedestal (of course Hyundai/Kia fan boys do the same thing). Subarus are really no different than any other vehicle but for some reason people think they far superior.

  • AnalogMan AnalogMan on Aug 20, 2019

    Having a Crosstrek in our family (my wife's car), I'll offer a different view based on actual ownership experience. This is not an exciting car for enthusiast, but it is an excellent car for a non-gearhead. Yes, the CVT is unspeakably awful if you're a car enthusiast. Even though it has some fake 'shift points', it still has the the same rubber bands stretching feel they all do. But other than that, we've found it to be a pretty impressive car. I'm a gearhead and have owned well over 100 cars in 47 years of driving, and am also a retired engineer. Potential head gasket lifespan aside, to me the Crosstrek seems better built than its competitors. We looked at every small CUV/tall station wagon on the market for my wife, and this one stood out head and shoulders above the rest. It has a solid, well-built, competent feel most of the usual suspects didn't. Interior quality in any car of course depends on the trim level, and in the higher end 'Limited', I find it to likewise be above average. There is attention to small details inside that you won't notice unless you're an obsessive-compulsive-anal-retentive-hypercritical-perfectionist like I am, but that stand out against the competition. Such as, the quality of the stitching on the seats, the design of the gasketing around the doors, accessibility in the engine compartment, and general ergonomics. The CVT further saps any pretense of 'performance' from the car, but the power is 'adequate' for a non-enthusiast driver. On long trips we routinely see 35-36 mpg cruising at 65-70-ish mph. My sister in law was so impressed with it after one drive that she went out and traded her Kia Sorrento for her own Crosstrek (bless her heart she got a manual, which dramatically improves the enthusiast appeal). I was so impressed with the design, engineering, and build quality of the Crosstrek that I went out and bought a WRX for myself. If you're on this site then by definition you're an enthusiast and different from most car buyers/drivers out there. The Crosstrek is targeted to those who probably don't read TTAC or Jalopnik. As much as we'd love for every car to be a passionate drive, most driver's don't care (like my wife), and the car companies build cars for the majority of the market, not the minority (no matter how passionate we might be). A Crosstrek with a CVT is definitely not something to warm the cockles of an enthusiast's heart. But for a solid feeling, comfortable car for everyday use, it's pretty nice. With a stick, it's even better (how many manufacturers even offer a stick anymore, especially in a car like this?).

    • Bullnuke Bullnuke on Aug 20, 2019

      Analogman - As you say, this is not a vehicle for "enthusiasts" (whatever that means on this site - mostly folks disparage certain makes/models if they don't conform to the posters on their basement wall). But many of these are sold to "non-enthusiasts" much as the VW Type 1's were many years ago because they are competent, well built, and economical to operate (and similarly suffer from lower levels of power) and do the things required by their owners well. And Subaru continues to quickly sell everything they manufacture because of this. As for the "deadly head gasket issue", my new '70 Beetle also had this issue (as well as many folks who purchased '68 thru '71 Type 1's) at around 45k miles - VW changed the composition of the alloy in the crankcase halves which allowed the head studs to loosen and required Helicoil inserts to correct. Subaru has had virtually no issues with head gaskets since 2010. Very nice write-up but HERESY on this site. LOL!

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