When Subaru developed the BRZ, along with Toyota’s help, they thought it would be a moderate seller. Nobody anticipated it would outsell Toyota’s FR-S or have a waiting list to get one. That is precisely what has happened and Subaru is struggling to handle the popularity.
The Subaru BRZ is an entry-level sports car based on the old Toyota sports cars years ago. It was developed as a collaboration with Toyota which offers the Scion FR-S. The BRZ and FR-S are essentially the same car except for one thing: “In the 12 months the two cars have been on sale, Subaru has sold one BRZ to every 2.6 Scions sold,” according to Edmunds.com.
What’s the deal? Speculation is that Subaru has been offering the BRZ with more features and more incentives compared with the FR-S. This has lead many buyers to consider buying from them. While Subaru is known for all-wheel-drive plain cars, SUVs, it is attracting a new breed of buyer – a middle-aged sports car buyer.
That’s right a “middle-aged” buyer. Initially, the car was developed as a way to attract buyers from a younger demographic. A funny thing happened though, older car buyers wanting a cheap, fun sports car are buying them up. In fact, the average age of a BRZ registrant is 45-54 according to Edmunds.com.
Another funny thing has happened, other Subaru models are hot right now. It seems the BRZ has attracted these older buyers to take a fresh look at their products and it turns out they like them!
According to a press release: “Subaru of America, Inc. today reported 35,994 vehicle sales for the month of July, a 43 percent increase over July 2012. The company also posted best-ever July sales for the Forester, Outback and Impreza models. Year-to-date sales for Subaru total 240,591 – 27 percent higher than the same period in 2012.”
Subaru has long been a “niche” automaker and has been flat out shocked at its success. So much so, Subaru is having an internal debate on whether to grow to meet demand or stay small. In a recent interview, Autonews.com reports, Subaru President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said: “We’re standing at a major turning point for Subaru. It shouldn’t just be about volumes. We should be making cars only Subaru can make that are a little more expensive and more profitable than the competition.”
It seems likely that Subaru will reconsider its BRZ model and pricing. While success is normally a good thing, in Subaru’s case, maybe not.
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