Subaru Australia made the surprise announcement yesterday morning that the first 100 fourth-generation WRX sports cars destined for our market would be available to pre-order on the company’s website from 12pm, with customers required to place a $2500 deposit to secure a vehicle.
But unlike a similar online campaign for the BRZ, which saw the first year’s 201-car allocation snapped up in less than three hours in July 2012, the new WRX has proved significantly less popular, with just one deposit placed in the first hour and six more to 12pm today.
In the lead-up to the start of yesterday’s pre-order campaign, Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said the program was introduced to address “significant pent-up demand” for the new model following “a huge spike of interest in WRX” on its public website after its Los Angeles auto show debut last week.
But Subaru Australia corporate affairs manager David Rowley today said online WRX pre-orders were never expected to match the pace of the BRZ.
“It’s a very different initiative this time,” Rowley said. “With BRZ we had a lot of pre-build-up, we had weeks if not months of pre-publicity in terms of spec, pricing, pre-drives.
“This time it’s more aimed at the pure enthusiasts, the WRX club-type people. The idea is that it’s just a little slow burn for the enthusiasts … just a bit of a trickle to build a bit of interest.”
Subaru Australia is yet to announce pricing or specification details of the new WRX, which is expected to be priced from approximately $40,000 when it arrives in local showrooms in March.
Rowley said the online ordering system would remain live until the end of the 18-day campaign, but confirmed Subaru had no plans to extend the program to mirror its sales strategy with the BRZ.
“Once December 13 comes around it will go back to the traditional retail network selling method,” he said.
Asked if he believed deposits would be placed for all 100 WRXs, Rowley admitted, “your guess is as good as mine”, but confirmed any unaccounted for vehicles would become “open slather” to dealers.
The fourth-generation Subaru WRX is powered by a turbocharged 199kW/349Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine and for the first time will be available with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) as an option to the standard six-speed manual.