Subaru is planning to move into the contract hire and leasing market on the back of the introduction of its new diesel engine in the Legacy.
Lawrence Good, Subaru UK’s managing director, said the company had no intention of abandoning its niche supplier status, but wanted to establish new relationships with contract hire and leasing companies.
“They will be, in effect, another sales force for us,” he said.
“Over the past few years we’ve not had a great relationship with them, but I think over the next few years we can deliver good service, maintenance and repair costs and residual values.
“Subaru had class-leading RVs up to about 18 months ago and we’re looking to get back to that.
“We definitely expect the diesel cars to perform better when it comes to residuals.
“We’ve got to get back to the days when buying a Subaru was a sound investment.”
He added: “There’s already work going on and we’re looking at getting long-term demonstrators to contract hire and leasing companies.”
In 2009 Mr Good expects the diesel option to make up 85% of Legacy sales and 95% of Foresters.
The diesel Impreza is less likely to overtake the petrol version – predictions are that diesel will make up 45% of sales.
The Tribeca SUV will not feature a diesel engine as it is built in America, primarily for the diesel-shunning US market.
“We expect to sell 10,000 cars a year in total, of which 7,000 will be diesel,” added Mr Good.