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Old 01-07-2003, 02:39 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Theories on lack of specifics during launch

Have you noticed how much information is actually missing from the press release? If not, compare to the Evo info that was available.

Any theories as to why this it?

Here's mine:

Subaru had two plans, Plan A and Plan B...

Plan A: Specs similar to Evo, with a 2.0 liter. Subaru wasn't happy because they couldn't pass US emissions for the power they wanted. They needed another plan in case Mitsu pulled one on them. The other significant factor was the differentials. I would guess this plan included front and rear limited slip, but no DCCD.

Plan B: Worst case, or from our perspective, best case. Drop in the 2.5L powerplant that they had been developing for the Legacy that would retire the twin-turbo engine. Throw in the kitchen sink - the best differentials they had. Make it a true sports car that would make all others virtually pale in comparison.

I think both plans were worked on in parallel for quite some time. I wouldn't guess that the Evo announcement was the real turning point since there's nothing really exciting going on there. I think constant feedback and surveilance of boards such as this, and market research indicated that to take this market segment in the US, they would need Plan B. As a niche automaker, they can't afford to have Mitsu or any other maker "trump" them any time soon. Retooling would cost more money, and loosing face would cost market share in an admittedly small market. Realize, also, that this is the first official appearance of STi as a brand-name for the US market.

Plan B ensures that this will not happen.

I believe there was significant and prolonged debate (infighting?)within Subaru between marketing and engineering and the bean counters on each option. Contray to what some may believe I think marketing won over both engineering and the bean counters.

Of course, I might just have a wild imagination...

That said, though, why is so much information missing at this point? If you read between the lines of much of what is said, you can tell Subaru is still sorting a lot of things out.

- Steve
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Last edited by zzyzx; 01-07-2003 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 01-07-2003, 02:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Theories on lack of specifics during launch

Originally posted by zzyzx
I believe there was significant and prolonged debate (infighting?)within Subaru between marketing and engineering and the bean counters on each option. Contray to what some may believe I think marketing won over both engineering and the bean counters.

- Steve
Ya, there has always been infighting at SOA. There were a lot of SOA management who didn't want the WRX to come here and wreck the house that the Outback built, so to speak. They're the ones who considered Subaru's image as a builder of conservative, dowdy station wagons to be the way of the future for the company... and Subaru of Japan's plans for the WRX be damned.

It's nice that SOJ calls the shots. I bet a lot of people at SOA were clueless about the STi until very recently... SOA is really just a marketing front, they don't build anything, they just remarket SOJ vehicles with English language ads and customer service. The test facility near Detroit is used primarily by SOJ.
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Old 01-07-2003, 03:54 AM   #3
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I was thinking what the 1st poster said.
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Old 01-07-2003, 05:38 AM   #4
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I think the "public" plan was plan A.

I gather the real plan was plan B all along. "guns blazing".
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Old 01-07-2003, 07:26 AM   #5
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Porter is correct.

a little birdie told me.

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Old 01-07-2003, 10:06 AM   #6
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Default 2.5 T plan

Could the once-upon-a-time 2.5 S/C Baja 2.5 have been the eye opener for the real potential of the 2.5? The R&D unit did have a force fed 2.5 powerplant... (who knows how many [if any] manual trannies they blew up testing the Baja showcar?)

Subaru may have always desired a larger market share in the USA- I hope so, I sense BIG demand for the entire model line released under STI badging/performance.

I wonder what that will mean for the non-STI units until technology and volume bring the good stuff into the base models?

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Old 01-07-2003, 10:31 AM   #7
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I was thinking along the lines of a plan A plan B idea too But it doesnt hold any water because Mitsu launched a fairly tame EVO. The plan A/B idea would suggest that Subaru would launch the A car, to be only slightly better than the EVO. Why would they go BIG throwing out all the stops if there were ever an idea on wavering. I think its just that they wanted to keep things tight-lipped. The more people involved, from Sales Researchers to Brochure Printers, the more likely you are to spill the beans.
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Old 01-07-2003, 11:42 AM   #8
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I agree with everyone here, that Subaru is a very proud marketing company and really wanted to stick to their roots, nothing real fast or flashy. It seemed SOA was reluctant at first with the Forester min-SUV as well but I think it was a real launchpad of sorts because that is when we started to see a move in Subaru to start getting these better performing models into the US. I can certainly see SOJ/FHI as no small part of this. I think STi enjoys the American market since they have a lot more free reign considering engine line-up and such with no limit on displacement for performance like they do in Japan.

The launch as cwwhalgren stated was probably mean't to be very simple with a lack of people involved to keep leaks to a minimum. They did a pretty good job other than a few inside sources which half of everyone didn't believe anyways.
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Old 01-07-2003, 11:51 AM   #9
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I don't think there is such plan A at all. At least not recently. For the STi to show up in dealers showroom in March/April time frame, SOA/SOJ has to pick one to be certified by DOT long before the NAIAS show.
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Old 01-07-2003, 12:01 PM   #10
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Maybe GM has something to do with plan b,

They own 20%, and are looking into performance vehicles. The Pontiac Solstice shares some parts with the WRX.

I think they will gauge the success of the WRX and STi, and modify future performance vehicle production according to their success.
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