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Old 11-18-2019, 05:54 PM   #101
Bansheeboy11
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I think everyone would enjoy that more that the ARX series
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:41 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Bansheeboy11 View Post
I think everyone would enjoy that more that the ARX series
Almost everyone.

I guess SOA has to appeal to the masses, and right now in the US, the Subaru enthusiast is "10,000 horsepower, wide-body everything" that would probably love to see Travis Pastrana backflip a Subaru.

The average age of a WRX owner according to JD Power is 35 with a household income of almost $100k. Curious how close that is to the NitroCircus demographic. Surely, their almost 3 million IG followers is persuasive for any corporation spending money.

But in the end, there has to be a return-on-investment at some point. WRX and STi sales have been trending downward since 2016. SOA has also discontinued many of the STi parts available for the previous generations of WRX and has seemingly chosen not to sell any new STi parts for the VA cars through their dealers. It looks as though there is a disconnect between all of these "followers" on social media, and the people who actually spend money buying these cars and parts from Subaru of America.

Best of luck to SOA and their new endeavours.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:03 AM   #103
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Red Bull destroyed GRC all by themselves.
JD Power is not credible, they make up their own awards. They have no merit on household income.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:25 AM   #104
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Redbull did everything they could to save GRC from it's own mismanagement.
SOA really doesn't have anything to do with selling STI parts or not.
I'd venture to say it's SOJ who are missing the mark in a big way there...

What form of racing would Subaru have to compete in to keep the 35yo $100k people happy ?
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:24 PM   #105
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Red Bull destroyed GRC all by themselves.
JD Power is not credible, they make up their own awards. They have no merit on household income.
Seriously?

WRX buyers have always been 35+ in the US, no matter where you get that info from. Nitro circus demographic is in the 16-35 range. And considering the average income for a 35-44 year old is around $50k, there is no reason to think JDP is way off the mark.

And, less than 1% of "under 24"(which is likely a large portion of social media traffic for Nitro Circus) are buying brand new cars. So, a bean counter can argue that while millions of people will be seeing Subarus race in the US, very few have intentions of actually purchasing a new Subaru anytime soon.

Conversely, the WRC is global, but has a far smaller social media presence, with about half the IG followers than Nitro Circus does. Yet, their overall viewer numbers is absolutely staggering. 4 million spectators, TV audience at almost 1 billion, and over 15 billion online impressions! "Followers" don't mean everything. Here is the big statistic though: The people that actually buy things related to what they are seeing, age 25-54, make up about 65% of the WRC fan base!

It's no wonder they have loads of TV deals, which equates to sponsorship interest, which equates to car companies having more money to go racing.

Analytics aren't everything, but they are something.
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:48 PM   #106
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If Nitro really is the future of NA RX...it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyways, I seriously hope there is some reevaluation of their course design.

With that said, from a demographics standpoint, I'm 31 and rallyx has never interested me enough to attend an event. I used to watch the x-games stuff because it was neat to see at the time, but never cared for the format. But I've spectated at Rally America and ARA events since 2008, and subscribe to WRC plus and follow the WRC very closely.

It would be a good time for Subaru to return with Citroen leaving...lots of good drivers will be without homes.

Last edited by T-37; 11-19-2019 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 11-19-2019, 02:00 PM   #107
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Redbull did everything they could to save GRC from it's own mismanagement.
SOA really doesn't have anything to do with selling STI parts or not.
I'd venture to say it's SOJ who are missing the mark in a big way there...

What form of racing would Subaru have to compete in to keep the 35yo $100k people happy ?
In terms of the STi parts, yes, it's been like that since SOA began offering STi parts. In a meeting I attended many years ago where an SOA project engineer was present, he stated the hoops needed to jump through to get Subaru and STi to allow parts to be sold over here. But, they did, and there was a nice selection for a while. Now there is not, yet guys are still buying STi parts in the states from overseas all the time. I'm sure it would not equate to millions of dollars in sales, but they are Subaru sales nonetheless and SOA is getting nothing for it. How to portray that to Subaru of Japan is up so SOA personnel.

As for the racing. In the US? Look around. David Higgins has 52k followers, yet Sally McNulty has a very respectful 32k followers with her Time Attack STi. IAG and Prime Motoring both make a living at selling things to Subaru owners have around 25k followers each and Cobb's customer base, which has a very large Subaru portion, has 133k followers. In this case, using social media to find out who these Subaru people are, what they like, what they watch on TV(or youtube), can be used to SOA's advantage. Talk to these companies to get their impression of Subaru owners spending thousands and thousands of dollars on their cars...just for fun.

In addition, target every person that bought a new WRX in the last 5 years. Find out what they are watching, reading, etc. You might be surprised and find that 83% of all new WRX owners watch college football, but not rallycross. Having been a new Subaru buyer numerous times, I can say there is little follow-up on to why I purchased the cars that I did from SOA.

Maybe SOA doesn't need to race on a high profile level at all. Maybe just being involved in the Subaru community would go a very long way. Subaru of Japan seems to do quite well with their "Fan Meetings" that they hold. "WRX/STi Appreciation Day" right at SOA for anyone that purchased a new WRX in the past year, maybe.

I'm not saying I have the answers, I'm just saying that spending millions of dollars on race cars in a country where professional racing(besides nascar) is not immensely popular might not be the best long-term investment(for an actual automobile company).

Considering how small WRX/STi sales are compared to overall Subaru sales in the US, I was always(and remain) surprised that SOA spends as much as they do on motorsports in this country.

Last edited by Shik; 11-19-2019 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:08 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shik View Post
As for the racing. In the US? Look around. David Higgins has 52k followers, yet Sally McNulty has a very respectful 32k followers with her Time Attack STi. IAG and Prime Motoring both make a living at selling things to Subaru owners have around 25k followers each and Cobb's customer base, which has a very large Subaru portion, has 133k followers. In this case, using social media to find out who these Subaru people are, what they like, what they watch on TV(or youtube), can be used to SOA's advantage. Talk to these companies to get their impression of Subaru owners spending thousands and thousands of dollars on their cars...just for fun.
The manufacturer really doesn't care to get involved in the aftermarket tuning world. The only correlation the manufacturer takes from the tuner interest in their cares is perhaps to get direction for the next model year


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In addition, target every person that bought a new WRX in the last 5 years. Find out what they are watching, reading, etc. You might be surprised and find that 83% of all new WRX owners watch college football, but not rallycross. Having been a new Subaru buyer numerous times, I can say there is little follow-up on to why I purchased the cars that I did from SOA.

Maybe SOA doesn't need to race on a high profile level at all. Maybe just being involved in the Subaru community would go a very long way. Subaru of Japan seems to do quite well with their "Fan Meetings" that they hold. "WRX/STi Appreciation Day" right at SOA for anyone that purchased a new WRX in the past year, maybe.
SOA spends MILLIONS every year on community outreach. VSC puts MASSIVE effort into 2 dedicated "show car programs" visiting dealers around the country. SOA/VSC spends hundreds of thousands to be present at, perform at, and financially support literally every large gathering of Subaru enthusiast in the country - ask Robert Champion. SOA/VSC have had appreciation days at both HQ in NJ and at the factory for several years. Hell, rather than sell previous model race cars, VSC now uses them as show cars for fans to sit in.

Quote:
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I'm not saying I have the answers, I'm just saying that spending millions of dollars on race cars in a country where professional racing(besides nascar) is not immensely popular might not be the best long-term investment(for an actual automobile company).

Considering how small WRX/STi sales are compared to overall Subaru sales in the US, I was always(and remain) surprised that SOA spends as much as they do on motorsports in this country.
Staying true to the company's motorsport heritage is an absolute blessing. Not only do they support a factory team in RX and Rally, they also financially support the series the factory teams race in, AND fund additional cars in times of need just to increase car count at the races. I think there's a hell of a lot more to them funding a couple factory teams than "spend millions on racing and hope they sell millions more on WRX/STI sales because of it"
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Old 11-20-2019, 05:45 PM   #109
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The manufacturer really doesn't care to get involved in the aftermarket tuning world. The only correlation the manufacturer takes from the tuner interest in their cares is perhaps to get direction for the next model year
Understood. However, I'm not talking about tuning, I'm saying the people going to these places, spending hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars on Subarus because they enjoy it, these are people perhaps SOA should take a bit more interest in. Many of these people purchased brand new WRX and STi's. Spend a few afternoons out of a few weeks out of a few months getting to know these customers.



Quote:
Originally Posted by EVT_Dan View Post
SOA spends MILLIONS every year on community outreach. VSC puts MASSIVE effort into 2 dedicated "show car programs" visiting dealers around the country. SOA/VSC spends hundreds of thousands to be present at, perform at, and financially support literally every large gathering of Subaru enthusiast in the country - ask Robert Champion. SOA/VSC have had appreciation days at both HQ in NJ and at the factory for several years. Hell, rather than sell previous model race cars, VSC now uses them as show cars for fans to sit in.
And our appreciation for this is immense. I was fortunate enough to be at one of the first events SOA attended back in 1999 with their Impreza R"X" show car. So to see the level it is at today is astonishing.

But, and this is just my opinion, but at the events I attended, actual SOA people were scarce. These events are perfect opportunities to really talk to owners who recently purchased a WRX or STi, and I just haven't seen it. I'm sure Carmichael Lynch could spare someone from their dog campaign for a weekend to attend a show. While WRX and STi's are a comparatively small number, they still account for a minimum of over half a billion dollars annually in sales dollars for SOA and probably around $30 million profit for dealers, so taking opportunities to research the people buying these cars wouldn't be for nothing.

This is Subaru's WRX Fan meeting this year as I'm sure most have seen. Completely different atmosphere than the shows put on by SubieEvents, LLC.(granted, the Subaru enthusiasts in Japan are a bit older as well):

I do think SOA has a fantastic tool with the whole Bowes Media/Launch Control series. It can be used for so much more, like tech tips or to showcase new STi parts or all sorts of other ways to attract prospective buyers to the brand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EVT_Dan View Post
Staying true to the company's motorsport heritage is an absolute blessing. Not only do they support a factory team in RX and Rally, they also financially support the series the factory teams race in, AND fund additional cars in times of need just to increase car count at the races. I think there's a hell of a lot more to them funding a couple factory teams than "spend millions on racing and hope they sell millions more on WRX/STI sales because of it"
There is a lot more to it, you are absolutely right. There has to be. Otherwise, all of the motorsports presence at enthusiast and "outreach" events, financially supporting race series, running extra cars at races, setting records at Isle of Man and Nurburgring , and now seemingly becoming more involved with NitroCircus would all be for nothing, as car sales for the WRX and STi have not improved.

Brand exposure is for sure a benefit of motorsport, but is intangible other than direct sales. The US has an absolute army of loyal Subaru enthusiasts which developed over years, in some part probably because of SOA's involvement. But even with tens of thousands of loyal enthusiasts, it's a tall order to convince a manufacturer that they are an actual benefit.

I do apologize for getting a bit off topic, but you mentioned "Nitro" as one
possible future for Subaru Motorsports in the US. I just don't see it being the long term race series that is needed to see some actual benefit from it. Then again, I am probably wrong .

Last edited by Shik; 11-24-2019 at 09:05 PM. Reason: added more info
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:38 PM   #110
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Manufacturers come and go from various race series. They do it for exposure and they do it for "testing/development" in some cases. In Subaru's case, I think it's easy to underestimate their benefit from participating in rallies and rallycross. As far back as I can remember, they've marketed their vehicles as "rugged, safe, all wheel drive all terrain" vehicles that have proven their worth in some of the toughest conditions in motorsports. You visit any dealership and you'll see posters or other marketing items that show their rally cars flying through the air or sliding sideways with a caption that touts their success.

I haven't set foot in Mitsubishi in a long time but I'd be shocked to see a poster with an Evo rallying. They abandoned rally and motorsports and I'd venture to guess that it was a calculated decision based on where their customer demographics were going not to mention bottom line. Same for Ford, Hyundai and others here in the U.S. who've come and gone. If they introduce new tech that they think would benefit from exposure that motorsports offers along with any beneficial "testing" it could provide, they could dip their toes back in.

We've seen those companies change and evolve but Subaru has largely stayed the course. You've got to have something to get the younger people interested in your products, and racing has always been among the best ways to do that. With the introduction of hybrid and electric tech in the years ahead, I'm hoping we see more manufacturer involvement in rallycross and possibly rally. Propulsion methods may change but the need for manufacturers to produce vehicles that are capable in all types of terrain/weather conditions will always be there. What better way than for them to show off how good their products are?
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Old 11-26-2019, 07:09 PM   #111
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CtStig, I agree 100% with you. And to your point, Subaru has always stated the importance of motorsports as a research and development tool as you mentioned, since the early 80's for sure, probably earlier. WRC, NR4, NBR24, even SuperGT all seem to follow this philosophy.

I'm just skeptical of desert buggies with Subaru engines and rallycross cars needing to leap over 100 ft gap jumps as promoting brand image.

I guess what I am saying is that would people in the US be any less interested in Subaru, if David Higgins ran a Limited 4WD car instead of an Open 4WD car? What if Subaru Motorsports ran cars in Global Time Attack Street class or Grid Life Street Modified class and Launch Control did episodes on it. How about if the show followed a few of Subaru Motorsports engine guys to a drag racing event or a shop that builds 900hp Subaru engines with blocks purchased from their dealers and discussed some benefits of the boxer engine. Personally, I think in the US, people would really enjoy that stuff. Posters, clothing, dealer events, etc can all be done using these very relate-able cars and drivers.

Don't get me wrong, I am a rally fan for decades, but if yet another rallycross series failed in the US, maybe Subaru Motorsports USA should look into some of these other forms of motorsports that seem to be rising in popularity among Subaru people.

If Subaru(Japan) eventually finds their way back into the WRC, that will be a global game changer for the brand, again. Subaru(of America) continuing at rallycross? I'm just not sure.

Last edited by Shik; 11-26-2019 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:17 PM   #112
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Isn't Subaru still not compliant with WRC due to the inline 4/transverse mount rule?

I would love to see Subaru get back into WRC on a grand scale too. Also being in grassroots would be great. IIRC they had a small stint sponsoring the Crawford 08 hatch (no comment) and then Icy Phoenix for a few years in Grand Am/IMSA. ESX had a connection years back but Subaru largely doesn't seem to get really involved grassroots racing. They do now with Rally America and pretty much smash on a bunch of amateurs. At least in GRC and ARX, they had real factory backed teams to fight with.
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Old 11-27-2019, 09:45 AM   #113
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Subaru back into WRC doesn't seem too far of a stretch anymore. Akio Toyoda was quoted pretty recently that he hoped Subaru would throw their hat back in the WRC game and since Toyota's stake is reported to be at 20% in Subaru he must have some influence. Other things that give me hope are the new regulations for 2022 could entice more manufacturers to include Subaru and the introduction of Japan back onto the WRC calendar starting next year all point toward a possible rekindling of interest in Japan's manufacturers. We could even see a Solberg back in a Subaru WRC car as Oliver's development timeline looks to coincide with the 2022 season's debut. Petter's farewell tour took him to Subaru in Japan recently and who knows what discussions were had.....

Shik, I think you've hit on something regarding Subaru USA's branching out into some new areas next year. There's no way they're going to let that shop in VT sit idle considering the investment put into it and they've hinted at some good news coming soon via their Instagram page. There's the Mt Washington Hill Climb next summer, hopefully at least 2 cars for that. I expect Higgins to be fully backed again to go for the record tying 11th championship in ARA with at least 1 full time team mate for ARA. They've got 2 former WRC drivers in their stable with Atkinson and Sandell so it would be great to see a 3 car full season effort in ARA. For rallycross, hopefully an expansion for Nitro. What, if anything else hopefully we know soon....
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:42 PM   #114
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I mean with Citroen out of the picture, Subaru could be a great manufacturer to fill that void I would love to see them on a world rally level again, id go as far to say id go overseas to watch an event. Nurburgring 24 is on the to-do list, as well as STI day at Fuji the following year. Id love to see them branch into road racing, maybe not IMSA but something more relatable and easier to televise than rallying. However, they could "borrow an RCF chassis from the Yota boys, throw an FA24 in there to the tune of 500hp and slap an SVX badge on the trunk, id pay to see that belching some flames around Daytona for 24 hours...
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