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Discussion Starter #1
looking at 2019 over 2018 month by month, outback sales contracted significantly from July through November indicating a strong first half of 2019 and weak second half Resulting in flat YTD sales. Ascent is the money maker for SOA. Will this trend continue into 2020?Legacy, like other brand sedan sales are down significantly. So. Is the SOA market shifting from the Outback to the Ascent or is the general market rejecting the new 2019 Outback and why?

Carline19-Nov18-Nov% Chg19-Nov18-Nov% Chg
MTDMTDMTDYTDYTDYTD
Forester16,38616,0662.00%163,743153,9716.40%
Impreza5,6865,4813.70%60,67570,520-14.00%
WRX/STI1,5012,079-27.80%20,27726,313-22.90%
Ascent7,5455,89028.10%73,67828,478158.70%
Legacy2,8012,903-3.50%31,64836,735-13.90%
Outback12,48113,437-7.10%164,517163,0030.90%
BRZ115301-61.80%2,2033,485-36.80%
Crosstrek10,37810,625-2.30%121,012133,089-9.10%
TOTAL56,89356,7820.20%637,753615,5943.60%
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6 Limited
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The Forester and Ascent are eating sales since they're both new and the Outback is a 5 year old design.

We'll see how the 2020's fair.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Something else I see in these numbers - what's going on with the significant drop in WRX/STi sales?
 

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WRX/STI appeals to a very limited audience. Too many other options with double the horsepower.

Sales of sedans are down across the board for pretty much all automakers. Sedans are going the way of the horse and buggy.

Rav4 is the top selling vehicle in the country. Forester goes head to head with the Rav4. My wife has had both and finds the Forester a better value, as I expect many buyers do. This has to account for the strong Forester sales.

Thanks to the Ascent, the OB is losing it's appeal. If it were available when I bought my OB, there is no question I would have bought the Ascent. Just a more practical vehicle.
 

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2018 2.5 Outback Limited and 2010 Forester Premium
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WRX/STIIf it were available when I bought my OB, there is no question I would have bought the Ascent. Just a more practical vehicle.
That’s debatable, given the lower price tag and higher gas mileage of the OB. If you just want more room, I get it. But practical? Not so much.

When the time comes to replace our Forester I’m going to test drive the RAV4 hybrid. That gas mileage and Toyota’s record with reliable hybrids is a serious draw for me.
 

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2017 Subaru Outback Limited
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26 Posts
Here is my take on the alleged OB sales slump.....it's temporary, due to lack of new 2020 inventory at the dealer level. Production had to shift from the '19 MY to the '20 MY. The report only shows sales (delivered units), and does not reflect ordered units. Let's check the numbers again in another 90 days or so for a more complete picture.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Another look at year end, not just to November, Outback sales. And it indicates the slump started in 2018, putting the theory about model changeover in jeopardy:


Note that there was also no hiccup in either the 2014-2015 Gen 4-to-Gen 5 changeover, and also the 2009-2010 Gen 3-to-Gen 4 changeover.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Talking to the sales contacts at the local dealer indicates sales overall has been slow over the past several month so that is in line with the numbers shown. Heading into the spring should give a clearer picture of what’s happening with the outback. The factory and dealers were very aggressive in clearing the residual 2019 outback inventory by offering huge discounts ($7k off MSRP) So sales for 2020 should be rolling through the factory since the new MY was release to production. There have been lot of tv adds for outback being aired daily, Ya don’t expense a costly Ad campaign without the need......
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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Thanks to the Ascent, the OB is losing it's appeal. If it were available when I bought my OB, there is no question I would have bought the Ascent. Just a more practical vehicle.
I don't see it as more practical at all. At least not for me. Too big for the little gain in cargo and towing capacity. Big difference in fuel mileage. If I needed something larger than the Outback there a many more options in the size of the Ascent that likely would get my attention. The Outback just hits that sweet spot where there just aren't any other options that really match up in size and economy. I'm sure it has cut into Outback sales but I'm guessing that those that moved from the Outback to the Ascent probably did so because life changed to where they needed something bigger, and in those cases they would likely have moved on anyway, even had the Ascent not been available.
 

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I don't see it as more practical at all. At least not for me. Too big for the little gain in cargo and towing capacity. Big difference in fuel mileage. If I needed something larger than the Outback there a many more options in the size of the Ascent that likely would get my attention. The Outback just hits that sweet spot where there just aren't any other options that really match up in size and economy. I'm sure it has cut into Outback sales but I'm guessing that those that moved from the Outback to the Ascent probably did so because life changed to where they needed something bigger, and in those cases they would likely have moved on anyway, even had the Ascent not been available.
"Practical" means different things to different folks.

For me, it once meant being able to haul 4 Boy Scouts and their camping gear for a week or a weekend. These days it means being able to haul a golf foursome, 4 golf bags and overnight bags for a golf trip.

The OB isn't practical for either of those without some compromise.

There is a reason there are not a lot of other options that match up with the OB. It's a limited market. Folks would rather have something the size of the Forester or the Ascent.
 

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2012 OB 2.5i. Approximately 75,000 miles. Purchased used 11/29/19
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The “size” of a forester is almost identical to the OB. The OB is 5 imches longer and a the roof line is little lower to the ground. But the cargo volume is almost identical. They are both four door hatch backs. They have the same engine. For all practical purposes they are the same vehicle. The main difference is personal preference. Not mission or capacity.

They sit differently. With the OB more car like, and the forester more SUV like.

I like the OB and my daughter prefers the taller sitting Forester. To each their own.

Just my opinion. The population seems to prefer an SUV like vehicle. THAT Is why sedans are down regardless of automaker. AND why the numbers above show more foresters sold than OB although they are close. And there seems to be a small and ever shrinking population that will buy a “station wagon” car like the OB.
 

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2019 2.5i Limited Forester (hers) (4th Subie), 2014 Impreza Premium (mine)(#5)
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Another look at year end, not just to November, Outback sales. And it indicates the slump started in 2018, putting the theory about model changeover in jeopardy:


Note that there was also no hiccup in either the 2014-2015 Gen 4-to-Gen 5 changeover, and also the 2009-2010 Gen 3-to-Gen 4 changeover.
Those were both major obvious body redesigns, as well as the introduction to Eyesight. Production then simply could not keep up with demand - we went from August of 2014 until March of 2016 with ZERO inventory on the ground. You wanted a new Outback, you came in and test drove the service loaner we had, then you ordered the car for delivery in 8 weeks.

The 2019 to the 2020 model is completely new from the ground up - but it doesn't LOOK that much different. And they are considerably different - I've had a couple of customers that gave their last Gen models to their kids for various reasons and bought new 2020's from me, and they're making sure the kids don't get to ride in the new ones, or they'll be jealous. :)
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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I would buy another outback over the ascent...the ascent is just too big for us. Right now we have the best of both worlds with our ‘11 outback and ‘18 crosstrek. Covers all the bases for us.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6 Limited
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Another look at year end, not just to November, Outback sales. And it indicates the slump started in 2018, putting the theory about model changeover in jeopardy:


Note that there was also no hiccup in either the 2014-2015 Gen 4-to-Gen 5 changeover, and also the 2009-2010 Gen 3-to-Gen 4 changeover.
There wasn't a hiccup through those years you mentioned because sales were flat for a decade.

There were more 1999s sold than 2009s with every year in between being very close to those figures.

When the Gen 4 came out sales numbers doubled.

When the Gen 5 came out sales nearly doubled again.

Although you're right. It's probably not a change over year issue.

I wonder if the Outback has priced itself out of the market with the Gen 6 in addition to the Forester and Ascent eating it's sales.

Or just an overall downward slope in car sales?
 

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There wasn't a hiccup through those years you mentioned because sales were flat for a decade.

There were more 1999s sold than 2009s with every year in between being very close to those figures.

When the Gen 4 came out sales numbers doubled.

When the Gen 5 came out sales nearly doubled again.

Although you're right. It's probably not a change over year issue.

I wonder if the Outback has priced itself out of the market with the Gen 6 in addition to the Forester and Ascent eating it's sales.

Or just an overall downward slope in car sales?
I'm not sure the OB has priced itself out of the market. The problem for Subaru is they now have top end vehicles in the $40k+ range. That is a market where I am not sure Subaru is ready to be a player.

Fanboys in the $30k range will accept a lot of warts and for some reason keep buying. Guess they heard Subaru is a great car in an inch of snow.

Buyers in the $40k range are less forgiving and are definitely going to cross shop, and to be honest, there are nicer vehicles in that price range.

Subaru quality just isn't there for the $40k price point. Can't keep buying components from the cheapest guy in town and the labor force needs to take more care during assembly and inspection.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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I'm not sure the OB has priced itself out of the market. The problem for Subaru is they now have top end vehicles in the $40k+ range. That is a market where I am not sure Subaru is ready to be a player.

Fanboys in the $30k range will accept a lot of warts and for some reason keep buying. Guess they heard Subaru is a great car in an inch of snow.

Buyers in the $40k range are less forgiving and are definitely going to cross shop, and to be honest, there are nicer vehicles in that price range.

Subaru quality just isn't there for the $40k price point. Can't keep buying components from the cheapest guy in town and the labor force needs to take more care during assembly and inspection.
Other than your first sentence you seem to be saying that Subaru has priced itself out of the market.
 

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Other than your first sentence you seem to be saying that Subaru has priced itself out of the market.
It's a market where they need to learn to become a player. Like most anything there are sure to be some growing pains.

Needs a whole new marketing strategy. Needs to sell me on the benefits of ownership and not that dogs can drive it.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Needs a whole new marketing strategy. Needs to sell me on the benefits of ownership and not that dogs can drive it.
The Subaru brand is way too invested into outdoor activities, dogs, and alternative lifestyles to ever be able to execute such a marketing strategy successfully. You just don't turn on a dime overnight.

I hate to say it, but what they probably need is a new name brand that distinguishes their premium vehicles from their run-of-the-mill Subaru name, much as Toyota did with Lexus, Nissan with Infiniti, etc. Then they can take the expensive options off the Outback and enter the market at a lower price point.

Right now they are getting squeezed at both ends - pricing at the bottom end, quality at the top end.
 
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