Speaking to the media at the launch of the new 2017 Subaru Levorg this week, the company's local boss, Nick Senior, announced the launch of 'pop-up' stores at shopping centres in the Melbourne suburbs of Hopper's Crossing and Preston.
Those two stores together have already sold more than 500 cars since their introduction a few months ago. An additional two pop-up stores are expected before year’s end while another six are planned for 2017.
The point of Subaru Do, Senior said, was a form of obstacle removal for customers who wish to buy or have their cars serviced without necessarily having to visit a dealer.
“We work in a retail industry that has been conditioned by 100 years of retail experience. Our challenge is to break that tradition,” Senior said.
The Subaru Do service vans can be used in a number of different capacities, such as being available at shopping centres on certain days or visiting fleet customers. So far, one van has been on duty for the last five weeks with Subaru, providing the blueprint for the service vans to interested dealers (the vans will either be Hyundai iLoad or Volkswagen Transporters).
Each van can perform five to six services per day and Subaru expects to have around 10 on the road before the end of 2017.
So far there is no premium charge for mobile servicing, but that may still be an option that individual dealers prefer.
The pop-up stores, meanwhile, have potential to go full-time and can serve the entire process of test drive and purchase from beginning to end - not requiring customers to visit a dealer at any point. In states where dealerships are closed on Sundays, they also provide an additional day of trading.
The Subaru Do rebranding is the Japanese marque's response to growing trends of savvy customers that have already conducted their research and are just looking for an easy, time-efficient way to purchase their vehicle.
Senior also admits that the company’s own market research shows that some of Subaru’s potential customers write the brand off, believing it to be expensive without knowing the price, something that popup stores will help change.