Fleet News

Subaru in fleet snub

Major fleet operators are not to play any part in plans to expand a Japanese car firm’s operations in Britain, despite it finally adding a diesel-engined model.

Instead, Subaru has identified doctors, vets and sports enthusiasts as key to lifting its sales by more than 80% over the next three years.

Even though 75% of its products are on line to offer diesel power by the end of the year, the brand will continue to be focused on retail buyers, revealed managing director Lawrence Good.

Speaking at the launch of the diesel-powered Forester SUV range, he told Fleet News: “While our aim is to grow, we have no desire to sell to the large fleets.

“Subaru is a niche brand and for us, small is beautiful.

“Even though our three-year plan envisages annual sales rising from 6,000 units to around 11,000, our market share will still be only 0.5%.

“Unlike our competitors, we don’t have thousands of unregistered vehicles to shift to the big fleet firms at 45% discount.

“Subaru has a reputation for retaining high residual values and we aim to maintain that.

Many of our customers are small businesses and our brand appeals to buyers who are independ-

According to sales manager John Fossey, the company is now targeting potential customers who need four-wheel drive transport to carry out their professions.

He said: “We believe many SUV makers have concentrated on urban dwellers, but we want to engage with customers in rural areas such as doctors, vets and keen sportsmen who sometimes need to travel off-road.

‘We’ve always been a rural, country-type brand and diesel power fits well with that image.

“We’ve been attending game fairs and county shows and have been given a warm reception.”

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