But Subaru is still a relatively small player in the US market, and with recent profits surging, parent company Fuji Heavy Industries is facing a dilemma: continue on with the successful niche market Subaru has carved out for itself, or attempt to go mainstream and give big players like Nissan and Toyota a run for their money.
Why not both?
Both a cutting-edge brand, one that is willing to experiment with form factors and turn feedback around quickly, and a mainstream brand, one that sticks to tried-and-true methodology to really move units, stand to make money.
Not doing one would be deciding not to make money.
The Subaru nameplate right now essentially stands for somewhat quirky, but extremely durable and safe AWD cars. That strength in image is not something easy to nurture, so they’ll want to try out new things under a new nameplate.
Enthusiasts will be happy as long as you’re making somethign that addresses their needs. It’s the mainstream that looks at the label.
I personally could get behind turning the STi variant into a full-blown brand for enthusiasts, and letting the Subaru name alone for the Impreza, Outback, and Legacy.
What’s most important though is that they avoid badge-engineering (the practice of relabeling existing products with new brands to try to meet different needs). Enthusiasts will see through that quickly, but more importantly, putting customers in an inferior product will destroy their (relatively new) reputation pretty quickly.