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Subaru discontinues Tribeca

Over and out: Subaru sold 540 Tribecas in Australia to the end of September this year.

Seven-seat Subaru Tribeca to be axed in January following slow sales

28 Oct 2013

SUBARU will discontinue the seven-seat Tribeca SUV early next year, with declining sales in its US key market blamed for its demise.

An official statement from Japanese parent company Fuji Heavy Industries confirmed that production at Subaru’s Lafayette, Indiana factory is set to cease in January 2014, with final deliveries to US dealerships set for February.

Subaru Australia national corporate affairs manager David Rowley confirmed Australian deliveries to dealers would cease in early 2014.

The statement from Subaru said there was no information or launch schedule for a possible Tribeca replacement, but that a new seven-seater was in the company’ s future product plan.

“In the US Subaru plans to return to the mid-size SUV segment with a three-row vehicle in the future. Regarding the launch to other markets, Subaru will consider the feasibility,” the statement said.

Despite the end of Tribeca production at the Indiana plant, Subaru confirmed earlier this year that it would expand its production capacity by manufacturing the Impreza small car from 2016 alongside the Outback and Legacy (Liberty) that are already manufactured there.

When the Tribeca launched in Australia in November 2006, it was met with a mixed response from critics and the public, thanks to its unusual exterior design that featured an aeronautical-themed front end with a wing-like grille and high-set oval-shaped headlights.

Sales didn’t meet expectations, particularly in the US. Subaru acted quickly to rectify the situation by launching a facelifted version just 12 months later with a more conservative and palatable design.

The Tribeca has remained a relatively slow seller for Subaru in the US, with 1247 units sold in the first nine months of 2013 compared to its Outback sibling that has sold 90,073 in the same period.

Subaru Australia has notched up 540 units to the end of September, averaging around 60 sales a month. Last year it sold 1326 Tribecas, an average of around 110 cars per month.

While not huge numbers when compared to segment leaders such as the Toyota Prado with 11,359 sales or the Ford Territory on 10,439 units from January to September, or even Subaru’s biggest seller, the Forester SUV on 10,131 sales, it represents a decent result for a vehicle that has not been strongly promoted by Subaru.

Currently, the Tribeca is sold locally in one specification only – 3.6R Premium – for $54,990 plus on-road costs. This puts it in direct competition with the mid-spec Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Jeep Grand Cherokee or the flagship Ford Territory Titanium.

The smaller Liberty Exiga wagon which is offered in two variants - 2.5i from $37,990 and 2.5i Premium from $42,490 - will become Subaru’s sole seven-seat option when the Tribeca finally departs, with the Liberty wagon, Outback crossover and Forester SUV all five-seat only options.

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