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CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- All-wheel-drive specialist Subaru may bring out a large luxury sedan to help redefine itself as a premium brand.

"We need it in the future, especially here in the United States," says Takao Saito, who last week ended five years as CEO of Subaru of America.

Saito says the new sedan would be a key element of Subaru's upmarket strategy.

The car would debut within five years and would be bigger and more expensive than the Legacy.

The Legacy starts at $21,570, including destination.

Saito wouldn't rule out building the car in the United States.

The job of taking the brand upscale will fall to the new CEO at Subaru of America.

Saito, 62, will take another post at parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. in Japan.

His successor is Kunio Ishigami, 57, previously general manager of parts and accessories at Fuji Heavy. Ishigami was general manager in charge of the U.S. market for Fuji Heavy from 1996 to1999.

Ishigami will arrive at Subaru of America on July 13. He takes over as Subaru is launching a new generation of the Outback and Legacy models. Those vehicles, which went on sale in May, represent 43 percent of Subaru's annual sales in the United States.

Fred Ad****, executive vice president, says the Outback and Legacy are sold out until August.

Subaru wants the two new models to boost its U.S. brand image.

The automaker has launched print and TV campaigns highlighting the company as well as its cars, Ad**** says.

Meanwhile, Subaru has modernized its six-star logo and will make it more prominent in advertising and at dealerships.

"We think that is certainly a very premium-looking brand mark with the blue and the silver," Ad**** says.


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