Subaru Could Learn Something from Dodge About Keeping Old Performance Cars Relevant

When it comes to its aging sports cars, Subaru could certainly benefit from a page out of the Dodge playbook.

Although they’re low volume, the BRZ, WRX, and WRX STI are in desperate need of some excitement until they are replaced with new versions – and the half-baked special editions the brand keeps churning out simply aren’t going to cut it. As loyal as its fans are, when all the people want is more power, charging more for paint and wheels shows the kind of disconnect that can eventually alienate those same allegiant followers.

Faced with the same dilemma, Dodge will happily sell you a variety of versions of its archaic Challenger coupe or Charger sedan with your choice of engine output ranging from 305 hp to a ludicrous 797 hp. There are even all-wheel drive and widebody versions, providing plenty of options in these otherwise outdated automobiles. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how an automaker keeps its antiquated cars relevant. The Challenger and Charger have both been around for about a decade, yet the variety of models have injected new life into both of them, keeping the consumer interest and sales high.

Subaru finally took heed of the high-priced call, launching a 341-hp version of the WRX STI exclusively in the US market. Meanwhile in Canada, fans of the archaic car are being rewarded with the newly announced WRX STI Kanrai 寒雷 Edition that comes fitted with a new shade of white paint, parts-bin scraps from the last special edition model sold here – and the same 310 hp as every other WRX STI you can buy. Oh, and it’s priced at $50,395 before freight and taxes.

Subaru Canada says the name translates to “winter thunder,” though there are plenty of alternatives out there that are much more fitting. “WRX STI 古い Furui Edition” has a nice ring to it, translating to “old” in English. Then there’s the “高値 Takane Edition,” which drives home the “overpriced” point. Regardless of name, about the only “exclusive” part about this limited edition WRX STI is the inclusion of a lip spoiler, with a nearly identical version dubbed the Series.White available in the US.

Equally outdated, the BRZ coupe recently received yet another special edition of its own. (You get three guesses as to how much power it makes….) Outside of its name, the BRZ tS is perhaps an even more egregious example of giving the people everything they don’t want. At least the price premium for this limited edition is somewhat more reasonable, ringing it at $33,795 before fees and taxes.

Scrolling through the comments on the Subaru Canada Instagram posts announcing both cars, one response in particular stood out among the rest. “What’s happening to Subaru?” asked user jynx.sti. “Every year the […] disappointment goes up with the price tag.” Subaru would be wise to address this question before it’s too late. The Dodge method would be a good way to start.

Hint: Special editions that are actually special. 3/16/2020 10:00:00 AM