The brand is understood to be working on a replacement for the Tribeca, which will sit above the Outback as the company’s largest model. It will be the most expensive car the brand sells – well, at least in the markets that will get the car.
That’s because the new model is destined to be built in America, for North and South Americans – and nobody else – despite the fact the seven-seat SUV market is strong in Australia, dominated by the likes of the Toyota Kluger, Toyota Prado and Holden Captiva, while other models like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento also account for chunks of sales.
Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior indicated that he doesn’t feel the lack of a seven-seat SUV is too big an issue for the brand.
“There is a large SUV seven seater but it is US only, being built in the US and the US production line is only left hand drive,” Senior said.
“We would look at it but there’s no talk of it being in right hand drive,” he said, indicating that the new model would be built off the brand’s new platform that also underpins the Impreza.
“The Indiana plant is going to be at 100 per cent capacity going forward. It’s only ever been built to be left-hand drive because of the demand in the Americas. It’s not just the USA it’s Canada and South America to an extent,” he said.
The fact there’s no viable market for such a model in Japan is also a factor. In that country smaller cars cost less to register, there’s a Liberty-based seven-seat wagon for the domestic market, and the people-mover scene is strong.
Therefore, it seems, engineering the big SUV for right-hand drive for a few thousand sales per year in Australia would come at too big a cost.