Automotive Subaru

Published on January 13th, 2024 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Subaru Outlets In Malaysia Closing As Sales Slowdown

Why is a well known and trusted car manufacturer like Subaru seeing a sales slowdown in Malaysia

The answer is simply this. The Chinese vehicle invasion cannot be stopped right now. Subaru in Malaysia saw a steady rise in popularity from 2012 until 2022 which started with the arrival of a new Crossover.

It started with the first generation XV Crossover which gave many Malaysians the taste of symmetrical all wheel drive handling and the famous Boxer engine rumble.

The first XV had a high ground clearance of 220 mm and was powered by Subaru’s normal aspirated FB Boxer engine. This DOHC 16-valve flat-four produced a modest 150 PS and 196 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. Paired to Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT gearbox with manual selection it was a little thirsty because it was a heavy vehicle and was driving all four wheels.

Motor Image, the Subaru distributor had 10 countries in Asia under its belt and decided that the Malaysian-assembled Subaru XV was to be its big push into ASEAN markets.

Motor Image managed to baring the selling price down with local assembly at Tan Chong Motor Assemblies’ Segambut plant in KL whilst maintaining Subaru global quality standards.

This XV was also exported to Indonesia (which soon after ceased operations for taxation inadequacies) and Thailand. The target at the time was 5,000 to 6,000 units per year, shared between the three markets.

At the time this Malaysian-assembled XV was a significant product for both Fuji Heavy Industries (the maker of Subaru) and Tan Chong International (TCI, parent company of Motor Image), as TCMA Segambut was the only factory outside of Japan and USA producing Subaru cars.

As the years progressed, the XV was joined by the very successful Forester SUV and some imported models like the Levorg, Outback, Impreza and even BR-Z.

At its sales peak, Subaru Malaysia breached the 5,000 units per year total sales and that was before the arrival of the Proton X70.

Then the sales momentum slowed down as more competition arrived and selling prices of the XV and Forester rose with the introduction of higher safety features like ‘EyeSight’.

In December 2021 Subaru in Malaysia started a heavy discounting program (as much as RM20k) to keep possible customers from buying a Proton X70.

Today, we hear of some Subaru outlets retiring (dealers remain and just some of the dealers scaling back their numerous outlets) and opting instead for new Chinese car manufacturers as last years’ total sales of less than 1,000 units nationwide is one of the reasons why.

Don’t worry as Motor Image has their own showrooms and aftersales and parts will still be on offer for these well built entertaining vehicles with high safety for Malaysians who love the brand and its build.

Meanwhile, you can still buy the BR-Z for RM249k and Impreza for RM296k which offers stimulating drive dynamics and class best handling.

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