Subaru Goes Big on Electrification in New Plan, Even As CEO Admits EVs Are a Tough Sell

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
subaru goes big on electrification in new plan even as ceo admits evs are a tough

Like it or not, Subaru plans to make up for lost time by delving deep into the world of electrification. In a technical briefing Monday, the automaker outlined a plan to draw 40 percent of its global sales from electric or hybrid vehicles by the beginning of the next decade.

Currently, the automaker only sells the Crosstrek Hybrid, but that will change as its newly strengthened partnership with Toyota starts to bear fruit.

Subaru’s long-term plan isn’t focused solely on electrification. The automaker stated, “With a focus on enhancing Subaru’s distinctive strengths, we will further evolve our core technologies of horizontally-opposed “Boxer” engines, all-wheel-drive technologies, superior driving performance and safety, EyeSight driver assist system and environmental technologies.”

Still, gas-free driving plays a major role. Subaru aims to cut its CO2 emissions by 90 percent by the middle of the century, and a dedicated EV platform developed jointly with Toyota will serve as a springboard to that goal. From that platform, Subaru will first launch an electric crossover, though the co-developed vehicle won’t appear until 2025.

By the first half of the 2030s, which is a lifetime in the auto industry, Subaru plans to field electrification technologies in all vehicles, regardless of market.

One market could prove a tough nut to crack.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura pointed to the United States during a media briefing. Basically, he said, Americans only seem to be interested in a singular EV provider.

“The only EVs that are selling well are from Tesla,” Nakamura said. Hardly a promising situation for a company that draws two-thirds of its global volume from the U.S.

Nakamura added that the Crosstrek Hybrid, which arrived in ZEV states in 2018 (and can also credit its existence to Toyota), remains a low-volume model. On average, Nakamura said, Subaru of America sells about 300 units a month.

“We think the U.S. market is really difficult,” he said of the coming EV wave.

[Image: Subaru]

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  • AJ AJ on Jan 23, 2020

    I just bought a Texas built Tacoma TRD Off-Road (access cab… which I think they’re all currently coming from Texas). I think it’s a great truck for the money. Fun to drive, seems solid. Two years ago I added a 4Runner to my garage. Great visibility, and built in Japan. I did consider a Tundra, but the MPG is horrible in those for one. I’d buy a Ram before I’d buy a Tundra.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Jan 25, 2020

    "We make an expensive PHEV with ridiculously short electric range and weird driving dynamics. It doesn't sell. See, EVs won't work for us!" If a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers more range, more room, faster charging, a better AWD system, etc. for the same price, why would anyone buy the Subaru? And that's basically a 10 year old design that Mitsubishi hasn't updated in the US market (even as its Euro volume destinations have seen upgrades to power, range and MPG). When Mitsubishi's entrant in a segment is hands down better than yours, maybe you need to try harder.

  • Cprescott The pandemic changed the sales game. No longer do dealerships need inventory. After two years people are accustomed to having to order what they want and then extorted on the price by the dealer for that privilege. Now used cars with 75k are selling for $5k more than I paid for my 21k, 2016 model back in January 2019. I pray my car won't get totaled and I have but 13 payments left to make on it. I may never buy another car again.
  • Grein002 I hope you meant "take the Ranger out behind the *barn*" rather than "bar". I think something completely different happens "behind the bar".
  • Cprescott Suddenly there is no reason to buy ugly anymore. The Silverdodo is dead. Long live the less hideous Colorado.
  • Cprescott Portable BBQ's for everyone!
  • Lou_BC The 2023 ZR2 is burdened with GM's 8 speed. It's been allegedly "fixed" so it doesn't gear hunt and shudder. I still won't trust it. The turbo 4 cylinder should address the lack of torque found in the V6. I test drove a full-sized Trail Boss. I could make it gear hunt. The turbo 4 didn't seem to be lacking in power, at least for an empty crewcab with a 6.5 box. It lacked anything resembling character. It had next to zero compression braking even with tow/haul engaged. Chevy should have continued offering the VM Motori based inline 4 diesel that's in the older Colorado trucks. I do like the fact that the 2023 comes with 33's standard and IIRC the wheel hubs/axles etc. have been beefed up to handle the larger rubber. The bolt pattern (IIRC) is shared with fullsized 1/2 tons opening up one's choice for aftermarket wheels.