There’s a slim chance the new-generation Subaru Ascent SUV – the Japanese brand’s biggest-ever model and long-awaited successor to the Tribeca – may be offered in right-hand drive.
Ascent is the name the brand's US arm has chosen for its new SUV model, presaged by the Viziv-7 concept, a show-car measuring 5199 millimetres long, 2030mm wide and 1878mm tall. The production version is set to be that big, too, making it larger than the likes of the Toyota Kluger.
CarAdvice spoke exclusively with Masahiko Inoue, Subaru project general manager product and portfolio division, at the launch of the all-new Subaru XV in Japan this week, where it was made clear that while the priority is the US market, other countries could get the new model if there’s a desire for it.
UPDATE: The Ascent has now been revealed, in concept form, in New York
“America only, I think,” Inoue said at the start of our conversation, before going on to suggest that the North American market – where Subaru is seeing record growth despite the lack of a large SUV, which is a staple of that market – is the focus in the first instance only.
“The reason is that we need resource and development focus to the United States because they are requesting this kind of vehicle in the market, so we are actively doing that right now,” Inoue said.
“But for other countries, we need to study,” he said, clearly leaving the door open for markets outside of North America to put forward their case as to why a model such as this would work.
“Now we are focused to the US market and left-hand drive, but for right-hand drive, it depends on the market request. America has big volume,” he said.
Subaru Australia national corporate affairs manager David Rowley said the company’s position hasn’t changed.
“We always say we're interested in what's coming out of the factory but the reality is that with the exception of our market, realistically it [right-hand drive] wouldn't be on the horizon,” he said.
“Still, we'll have a look at the specs when it comes out.”
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