A hybrid model is being developed by Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru brand for the U.S. market. This model is expected to arrive in 2013; however, it remains to be seen if these cars would make a big impact on the market, according to Tom Doll, chief operating officer of Subaru of America.
In an interview with Reuters, Doll said that at the very least, Fuji Heavy needs this model to enhance its brand image.
Fuji Heavy has also revealed plans to launch its first gasoline-engine hybrid car in 2012 but it has yet to give a time frame or determine which regions it will offer this vehicle in. In 2010, Subaru was one of the fastest-growing brands in the U.S. (its biggest market) with a 22% climb, putting it neck-and-neck with BMW.
Its market share increased to 2.3%, nearly doubling in three years. But it’s notable that its spending on incentives was the lowest among major brands, near $1,000 and at one-third of the incentives offered by General Motors Co.
Doll declined to give a figure for Fuji Heavy's internal estimate for U.S. sales in 2011 but he said that he’s optimistic about Subaru's continued brisk growth.
He added that he predicts per-unit incentives will be unchanged from last year's levels. Doll said that hybrids will improve Subaru's brand image but that he is quite happy with the current line-up.
Subaru has racked up a lot of sales as it appeals to customers who want fuel-efficient, all-wheel-drive models such as the Outback and Forester.
Doll forecasts that if gas prices climb “moderately” and remain in the $3 range, Subaru will have the products that will be highly competitive in the segments they’re in. [via reuters]