Styling of new Subaru’s new 7-seater crossover still being debated

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 31, 2015

Subaru is currently developing an all-new crossover that will be bigger than the hot-selling Outback and will be rolled out in about two years. However, executives at the carmaker are still stuck with whether to make the new crossover a grand Outback or bestow it with a distinctive styling just like what they did with the Forester compact crossover.

But if there is one thing that Subaru will want to avoid with the new crossover is to give it a polarizing design like it did with the Tribeca, which production was halted in January 2014 due to slow sales.

Nobuhiko Murakami, senior vice president of global marketing for Subaru’s parent Fuji Heavy Industries, remarked that the new seven-seat crossover will compete against the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot since "they are so strong."

It will be more spacious than the Tribeca and will feature three rows of seats, although the arrangement of the seats remains “under discussion," Murakami said, adding that the all-wheel-drive crossover being designed primarily for the United States.

The Tribeca was hit for its quirky front end and its styling was considered too polarizing for families -- the target market for the seven-seater. Subaru had targeted to sell 36,000 Tribecas annually, but sold only 732 and 1,598 units in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Focusing the new crossover in the US would mean that the Levorg compact wagon derived on the Impreza won't be sold in the country, Murakami said. He said that the Levorg replaces the former Legacy station wagon and was initially developed for Japan.

Subaru eventually decided to sell the Levorg in Europe, and unveiled the European version at the Geneva auto show this month.

Topics: subaru, crossover, design

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