Subaru dealers in the United States can now rejoice as they could get a new seven-seat vehicle to replace the Tribeca, according to to Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries. The timing of the replacement, however, remains unknown. “I've received very strong requests from US dealers for a multi-passenger seven-seat vehicle," Yoshinaga told Automotive News in an interview.
He remarked that engineers are working on the vehicle, but declined to provide a timeline for its US rollout. He, however, said that the new seven-seat vehicle would not be ready for a seamless introduction when Subaru stops the output of the Tribeca early 2014. Yoshinaga said that Subaru has no new vehicle lined up for the US in 2014 or 2015, but assured of updates and redesigns of current nameplates.
He remarked that the seven-passenger vehicle project is “completely different,” adding that it would come up immediately when Tribeca production ends.
The new seven-seat vehicle would fill a gap in Subaru’s lineup for a big people mover. The seven-seat Tribeca went on sale in 2005 and has been suffering from slumping sales, no thanks to a small rear-seat room. Subaru sold only 1,348 Tribecas in the first 10 months of 2013, making it the brand's worst seller by far.
The new seven-seat vehicle could be derived from the Subaru Exiga, a seven-seat van-wagon crossbreed sold only in Japan. The Exiga boasts of wagon-like proportions with swing-out doors, but features a tall, top-heavy greenhouse and a slightly elevated third row. According to Yoshinaga, the output of the new vehicle is not included in Fuji Heavy’s plan to expand its US production capacity to 300,000 units annually by the end of 2016.