Subaru WRX STI sales follow BRZ online

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SUBARU Australia is confident it can more than double annual sales of its STI flagship sedan despite the loss of the hatch body-style and the absence of an automatic transmission option.

The combination of a massive $10,000 price cut at base level, and the introduction of a new optional online ordering system along with an expanded network of specialist STI dealers from 12 sites to 20 will generate far more interest in the car, Subaru says.

The Japanese car-maker’s local arm is hoping the new and remnant infrastructure will boost sales of the fourth-generation model from 130 to around 300 annually.

Subaru’s new STI will be the second model offered online by the company, with its supply-restricted BRZ coupe offered exclusivity via the digital channel at launch in 2012. The pioneering move secured Subaru about 1800 sales over 18-months before freer supply allowed Subaru to axe the method for the car and offer it in conventional showrooms.

In addition to the web orders and the expanded sales network, Subaru has a series of 17 rural test centres where potential customers can drive the new WRX STI without having to travel long distances to main city dealerships.

If the test day results in an order being placed, Subaru will even deliver the vehicle to the customer freight-free, removing the need for the customer to travel back again.

Speaking at the Australian launch of the WRX STI this week, Subaru Australia Nick Senior told GoAuto that the new measures and existing online infrastructure will encourage even the most far-flung STI enthusiasts to sign on the line.

“The first point of contact is the STI network of which we have 20 dealers so we have almost doubled the network, Then we’ve got the 17 test drive and delivery centers mainly in regional areas,” he said.

“Enthusiasts can live anywhere in Australia and there is an over representation outside the capital cities because they have the great roads... (and are) probably a bit more mechanically minded than their city counterparts.

“The STI model is more about reaching those people where we don’t have showrooms.

“We have always done well with WRX in country areas, we've always seen motorsport over represented in country areas, hence that’s where we want to give them the ability to buy these cars.”

While Subaru believes a majority of its STI customers will be owners returning to the brand, Mr Senior is hopeful the new $10,000 price hack will encourage conquest sales from Australia’s home brands.

“I think particularly HSV has been successful and have developed a loyal and passionate following and I’m sure they want to keep those people and I am sure they are working on product to keep those people.

“I’m just saying we are going to put our hand up, have a chat to us and see whether we can meet your desires.

“This is a specialist car, it is an enthusiasts car and it is a committed purchase for these people.”

Despite the dealership expansions and more purchasing options, sales may still be corralled by supply restrictions, with numbers coming to Australia limited at this stage and strong competition from a diverse sports sedan market.

“Availability is going to be an issue moving forward. This is not a huge market in terms of $50,000 performance cars and there is probably more competition in this segment that we have seen in a long time.”

 

To keep up to date with all the upgrades MRT will be offering for the MY15 STi, keep an eye out on our ever expanding online parts catalogue.

Article by Daniel Gardner, as found at www.goauto.com.au

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