March onsale for WRX

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Subaru Australia will launch the all-new WRX Down Under to coincide with the iconic rally rocket's 20th anniversary. First launched in Australia in March 1994, more than 42,000 WRXs have found homes locally. The all-new MY2014 car will arrive in time to celebrate the anniversary with a higher price-tag but performance, equipment and refinement gains to sweeten the offer.

Subaru Australia boss, Nick Senior, outlined the timetable for the new WRX's arrival in Melbourne yesterday. Although he would not be drawn on specific dates or details, he confirmed the car would be on sale before the end of the first quarter of 2014.

The all-new car is charged with the task of bringing new blood to the brand... And without alienating existing customers, says Senior.

"I think the real DNA of WRX over the time has been its driving credentials, and I know certainly from the factory point of view, the driving experience of the new WRX was paramount... I've had the opportunity to drive it and I think it will not disappoint any of those existing customers. [But] I think it will appeal to new customers because of the changes that they've made... Everyone's conscious that we need to widen the appeal [of the WRX], and I'm certain that this car is going to hit the mark," he said.

The all-new WRX is expected to make its world debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show next month. Higher in content and with a better quality cabin and significant extra equipment, Senior hinted the new WRX will be more expensive than the $40K price point the model has 'inhabited' almost since its 1994 launch

"We launched it [WRX] at $39,990, 20 years ago. It's [still] $39,990 today – it's an incredible value for money [story]. But there's no doubt there's going to be substantially more kick, equipment and technology, in the new car.

"We've still got – fortunately – six or seven months, and we do't need to lock away pricing just yet. As always it'll be a strong Subaru value-for-money [story], but I think we've got to realise that there's a fair amount of kit that's going to be added to this car," Senior cautioned.

"Certainly no one wants to dumb down the WRX in terms of its performance edge, [but] I think, as a package, it is a car that is going, in every element, to appeal to a wider audience. It's our job to get that message across," Senior told motoring.com.au.

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The local Subaru boss also confirmed that an even more expensive and higher performance STI version would follow the new WRX – in part killing suggestions that the new car would move far enough upmarket to kill off the performance variant.

In the past the gaps between the releases have been up to 18 months. Says Senior, this time the new STI version will hit showrooms closer to its partner.

"Traditionally it's been a bit of a gap, but I expect a lot less of a gap this time – probably only a couple of months at the most."

Senior stated Subaru would not follow the BRZ web-only sales strategy with the new WRX. Indeed, he hinted that as supply for the rear-drive two-door has started to free-up, the company may rethink the exclusively online sales channel.

"Bearing in mind one of the primary reasons for doing the online strategy was to help us manage the extremely short supply, initially, and also to give us a bit of an understanding how all that worked, [we may make changes]," he explained.

"We will probably still continue the BRZ online, but have a look at about whether we should open it up to the network.

"What I do't want to see, now that we are potentially able to get a few more cars, is that [we miss out on sales] if someone's sees an 86 in the Toyota and they can get it straight away," Senior stated.

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Article as found at www.carsales.com.au

By Mike Sinclair