In December, Subaru Corp. CEO Tomomi Nakamura told Automotive News that the automaker is focusing on U.S. market share with the next milestone of 5 percent as the target to hit.
“We’re not too far away from being able to get there,” Walters said.
“In fact, there are some months where our retail market share does reach 5 percent already, so we’re pretty encouraged by that. I think we’re getting close enough just to say, ‘Keep doing business the right way. Play it for the long term.’ If we’re able to do that then certainly sometime over the midrange, we will reach that 5 percent.”
A 4.2 percent market share and nine years of growth is a stark difference from Subaru’s past, when it was a niche import brand with annual U.S. sales consistently below 200,000 vehicles and a market share of less than 1.5 percent.
From 2001 to 2004, Subaru’s market share stayed at 1.1 percent. It increased to 1.2 percent in 2005, but stayed there until 2008 when it increased to 1.4 percent.
Subaru’s market share rose to 2.1 percent in 2009 and to 2.3 percent in 2010, but dipped back to 2.1 percent in 2011 before the streak started.
Subaru has passed Kia, Dodge, GMC and Volkswagen in terms of market share during the streak.
Subaru’s lineup has also grown. It added the Crosstrek subcompact crossover and BRZ coupe in 2012 and returned to the three-row crossover segment with the Ascent in 2018.
“When we started this nine years ago, and just the overall increase in sales going back about 12 years, that really started with just having good product and the right product, [and] doing very well with right sizing of SUVs with the right content,” Walters said.
“Then you tie that with the branding, the marketing and the Love campaign, [and] that’s just been very steady for us as we’ve been able to build our brand equity there.”