Subaru plots UK sales comeback

Subaru is targeting an ambitious threefold increase in UK sales by 2025 as part of a comeback plan to return the brand to health and match its record sales year of 2001.

A new UK MD, Chris Graham (formerly boss of Citroën Ireland), has been appointed by the importer IM Group, whose development director, Torbjörn Lillrud, is driving the push into the next decade.

“Now we are extremely ambitious for the UK,” said Lillrud at the 2019 Geneva motor show, “but in the past, we’ve done a bad job. We didn’t have a plan. We focused too much on the WRC rallying and missed the boom in SUV sales. We forgot to tell the right story”.

Last year, Subaru started seeing signs of recovery, increasing sales by 17% to 3141 from 2679, but that was still just one-third of its record 11,000 sales in 2001.

“We are now targeting real customers. Those that want to drive from London to Scotland and have active lifestyles. We want the dog walkers and the climbers and the outdoors enthusiasts. They are natural Subaru buyers,” said Lillrud.

This year, Subaru will target 4000 sales built around its best-sellers, the XV and Forester. The XV receives a facelift for 2019 and the Forester is due a new petrol hybrid powertrain, called e-Boxer, towards the end of the year. The engine is expected to boost UK sales to around 5000 in 2020.