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Subaru wrecks WRX sales record

Strong performance: Out of the 691 WRX sales in Australia last month, Subaru sold 141 examples of the hardcore STI variant that launched in Australia in mid-April.

New-generation Subaru WRX sets sales record in Australia in second month on sale


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6 May 2014

SUBARU'S fourth-generation WRX performance hero and its STI derivative are proving to be more popular than ever, with the brutal boy-racers clocking up a best-ever combined sales result in Australia last month.

In April, Subaru Australia sold 691 WRXs to break the record of 469 that was set back in 1999 with the first-generation model. Out of the 691 total, 141 of those sold were the hardcore STI variant that only arrived in Subaru showrooms mid-way through last month.

This figure also meant that the sporty duo combined outsold all Subaru models including the Impreza on which is based, as well as the XV crossover. Only the Forester, with 728 sales, finished with a greater number of deliveries.

The impressive haul eclipsed a number of popular models in the small car class last month, with the WRX and STI alone – excluding the regular Impreza range on which they are based – outselling the Kia Cerato (384), Nissan Pulsar (590) and Honda Civic (660).

Subaru elected to drop the Impreza name for the new-generation WRX and STI, which means that sales data for the Impreza and WRX are split in the monthly VFCATS new-car sales reports whereas they were previously combined.

Oddly, the WRX range sits alongside the Impreza in the Small under $40,000 VFACTS category rather than in the Sports cars under $80,000 segment where it would be a natural fit.

If the WRX range was listed in the Sports car under $80,000 category, it would have easily beaten its rivals including the Toyota 86 which sold 312 units, the Hyundai Veloster on 228 sales as well as its BRZ coupe stablemate which sold 83 units last month.

Previous trends have shown strong take-up in the first few months of sales for sportscars, before a marked decline several months after launch as initial interest dies off.

The Japanese car-maker's sales were up 13.7 per cent for the month compared to March with 2903 units shifted, although year-to-date sales were down by 0.7 per cent with January to April sales of 12,887 compared to 12,982 the previous year.

After just two months on sale, the WRX has become the Japanese brand's fourth-best seller for the year so far behind the Forester (4311), XV (3529) and the Impreza (2127).

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said the demand for the WRX has been so strong this year that some variants are now on back order and are likely to be delivered in August.

“This is a fantastic response and the most encouraging aspect is the high level of conquest business,” he said.

“New WRX and WRX STI are attracting new buyers to Subaru with their great mix of performance, comfort, value-for-money, specification and Subaru’s trademark reliability.

“We’re getting especially strong demand for the sports Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission WRX, running higher than anticipated at more than 50 per cent of orders.” Subaru kicked off sales of the WRX in November last year by offering 100 examples of the vehicle online, before showroom deliveries commenced in late March.

The company trialed online sales for its BRZ coupe in 2012 which proved to be a raging success after the initial allocation of the Toyota 86 twin sold out in just three hours.

BRZ sales have dropped by 20.5 per cent in the first four months of this year compared to last year, with 329 units shifted, while the 86 is down by 34.8 per cent with sales of 1610 from the 2469 it recorded in the same period last year.

Overall sales in the Sports car under $80,000 segment have taken a hit of 20.2 per cent for the year so far, with most models experiencing a decline in sales.

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