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Subaru recalls European design ethos

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Subaru may place great emphasis on the North American market, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten the European design that defined former product such as the mid-2000s Liberty.

These are the sentiments expressed to CarAdvice today by the CEO (or Geschaftsfuhrer) of Subaru Germany, Tomohiro Kubota, who we talked with about the direction of Subaru’s general design and execution.

Alongside the generation-removed Honda Accord Euro, the fourth-generation Liberty of the mid-2000s (pictured below) had a vaguely 'European' flavour, with its compact dimensions, wagon body option and overall focus on dynamism.


This contrasted with the fifth-generation version and its US-centric focus, watered down (or corrected) for the recently launched generation-six version.

“As you correctly pointed out, as a manufacturer, the majority of turnover and profit is now coming from the US operations,” Kubota-san said.

“[But] is doesn’t necessarily mean, for example, design wise we forgot about Europe. For instance the new-generation Outback is now much better than the previous generation, [which was] kind of American-style, that new car for example is in Europe so far, versus last year, up 190 per cent.”


It’s a similar story in Australia, where the Liberty and Outback have posted massive growth this year.

When asked whether this could translate to a European-market-focused Liberty wagon returning — the current model is sedan-only and complemented by the Outback crossover — Kubota-san stopped short.

“In that sense we just launched Levorg,” he said, referencing the warmed-up wagon now also confirmed for Australia, that sits broadly between the Impreza and Liberty sedans in size.

“Package-wise it’s almost exactly the same as the previous Legacy (Liberty) in the mid-2000s, a little bit ‘European-ised’. So, not exactly a simple replacement but could be a good successor…”