Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 6

6

* JUNE 2018

TRENDING
STORIES
automotivenews.ca
The new Ascent has three rows
of seats, a feature that has been
absent from the lineup.
PHOTO: SUBARU

ONGOING WEB COVERAGE

NAFTA NEGOTIATIONS

WHILE NEGOTIATORS CONTINUE TO TALK AFTER MISSING
A U.S. CONGRESS DEADLINE IN MAY, MANY NOW EXPECT
A DEAL WON'T COME UNTIL 2019.

TRUMP'S TARIFF THREAT
The Crosstrek is in short supply,
with one dealer saying that customers are waiting three months
to get theirs. P H O T O : S U B A R U

National unit hopes
added production
will get more cars on
lots - and add sales
By JEREMY SINEK

TORONTO CORRESPONDENT

ALMOST ONE IN TWO U.S.
residents sees snow only in the
movies and in photos. For most
of Canada, well, it's not called the
Great White North for nothing.
So it stands to reason that
Subaru, the car company synonymous with all-wheel drive, would
have a higher market share in
Canada than in the United States.
Except it doesn't. In 2017, after
another record year, Subaru
Canada Inc.'s market share grew
to 2.7 per cent; south of the border, Subaru of America achieved
3.8 per cent.
The discrepancy, at least
in part, is due
to dealers' difficulty getting enough
of Subaru's
hot-selling models. The shortfall
is from strong
Robert
demand, a comKarwel,
pany executive
senior
said, adding
manager
of J.D. Power that production
increases should
Canada's
ease the probautomotive
practice, says lem.
Clearly,
Subaru sales
despite six
have been
straight years
limited by
supply.
of growth and
FILE PHOTO
Canada recently surpassing
Australia as the third-largest
market for the brand, Subaru
still hasn't reached its true potential in this country.
"[Market share] discrepancies between the U.S. and Canada
likely have to do with a limited

supply of product that Subaru
Canada can get their hands on,"
said Robert Karwel, senior manager of J.D. Power Canada's automotive practice.
"Factories in Japan and U.S.
will ship product to the most
profitable jurisdictions first. If
they could import more, they
would likely sell more."

'GETTING OUR FAIR SHARE'

bution rights were initially held
by American privateers - the
flamboyant Malcolm Bricklin in
the United States, and, in Subaru
Canada's case, Larry Barnes, a
Chevrolet dealer in Boise, Idaho.
Perhaps an American owner
lacked the local knowledge or
the commitment to maximize the
brand's potential in Canada.
"The U.S. had a huge head
start on of us in terms of brand
awareness and building a core
base of owners," said Lalka.
In 1989, Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries in
Japan (now named Subaru Corp.)
brought the Canadian operation
in-house as Subaru Canada Inc.
That year, Subaru sold 6,172 cars
in Canada and things got even
worse before getting better. An
early-1990s economic downturn,
and a misguided
attempt to "mainstream" Subaru
by offering frontwheel-drive models
to compete directly with Honda and
Toyota, resulted in
a sales dip to 4,183
units in 1995.

Ted Lalka, Subaru Canada
vice-president of product planning and marketing, doesn't
know which market is more profitable, "but I can
tell you the people
at Subaru Corp.
recognize Canada
as a very important market. As we
have been requesting additional production, we have
been getting our
fair share. I see no
ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
evidence of them
favouring one marThat was also
ket over another."
the year Subaru
Apart from
pivoted back to
Ted Lalka, Subaru
still being tight on
embrace its inner
Canada vice-president
Crosstrek compact
all-wheel-driveness,
of product planning
utility, "simply
making it standard.
and marketing, says the
a case of custombrand now can satisfy
At about the same
er demand exceedconsumer demand.
time, it launched
PHOTO: SUBARU
ing expectations,"
the Legacy
said Lalka, "in total
Outback. The
now, we're at the point where we
hiked-up spin-off from the Legacy
can basically satisfy customer
wagon was an expedient way for
demand."
Subaru to enter the burgeoning
Supply was particularly conutility market. It was a hit.
strained when initial demand
Sales in Canada climbed rapfor the Legacy/Outback exceedidly at first, then plateaued in the
ed forecasts after its redesign in
15,000-17,000 range from 2001 to
2014. But that has been resolved
2007, before taking off again in
with substantial increases in
2008. Sales topped 50,000 in 2016,
production capacity at Subaru's
grew to 54,570 last year, and are
plant in Indiana.
up 5.5 per cent this year through
In part, Subaru's higher marMay.
ket penetration in the United
Were it not for a blip in 2011,
States might also be a matter of
when the tsunami in Japan dishistory. Subaru entered the U.S.
rupted supply, Subaru Canada's
market in 1968, giving it a 10-year
head start over Canada.
SEE SUBARU PAGE 9
In both countries, the distri-

THE U.S. PRESIDENT HAS THREATENED TO SLAP A 25 PER
CENT TAX ON LIGHT VEHICLES EXPORTED TO THE UNITED
STATES. THIS COMES AFTER IMPOSING A STEEL AND
ALUMINUM TARIFF.

WORLD'S TOP McLAREN STORE IN TORONTO

BEING THE BEST IN CANADA IS ONE THING, BUT HOW
about being the best in the world? McLaren Toronto has been
named McLaren Automotive's Global Retailer of the 2017, after
selling slightly more than 100 of the highend sports cars. Exact sales numbers
weren't released.
The Canadian retailer, which is part of
Pfaff Automotive Partners, won the overall
PHOTO: MCLAREN
top honour by outscoring McLaren retailers
at 86 locations in 31 different markets around the world.
"With record sales and great attention to detail, they continue to build McLaren's brand awareness in this key market," Tony
Joseph, president of McLaren North America, said in a statement.

N.B. CHARGES ON WITHOUT EV INCENTIVES

ELECTRIC-VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS ARE BEING
added to six provincial parks in New Brunswick, a province that
sees 95 per cent of its tourists visit by road.
New Brunswick will add a combined 12 standard Level 2
charging stations at the parks.
New Brunswick, which has the third-smallest population of all
provinces, saw 53 new EVs registered in 2017. That's more than
double the 24 registered the year before.
"Installing charging stations at our provincial parks and attractions ensures our government is meeting the increase in demand
for cleaner transportation methods for our tourists and residents,
as well as supporting private and public sector efforts towards
building a clean economy," Environment and Local Government
Minister Andrew Harvey said in a statement.

WHAT'S BIGGER THAN AN OUTBACK? ASCENT
SUBARU FINALLY HAS A VEHICLE WITH THREE ROWS OF
seats. The 2019 Ascent is set to land in Subaru stores in late
June and is the largest model the automaker has ever built.
When it came to the exterior, Yasunori
Kumagai, Ascent project general manager, said that a clear focus was "to have a
sense of scale and presence to exceed the P H O T O : S U B A R U
Outback."
The expected median customer is in their mid-40s and the
demographic skews slightly more female, he said.

HAVING A DRIVER IN A SELF-DRIVING CAR?

BLACKBERRY CEO JOHN CHEN BELIEVES NEW SAFETY
discussions around autonomous vehicles are irrational, even
after the death of an Arizona woman
earlier this year.
Chen believes having a driver defeats
the purpose of self-driving technology.
"I find it almost laughable to talk about:
'Why don't we put a passenger or a person there to manage a self-driving car?'"
Chen said in an interview on Bloomberg P H O T O : B L A C K B E R R Y
TV. "We ought to focus on making the
technology safer [rather] than arguing about some kind of
stop-gap solution for now. You have to go full-steam ahead
on the safety and security side."

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XT

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2

Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 5
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 6
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 8
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