Subaru Is Developing a Compact Pickup-But There’s a Catch
Subaru says it is considering a pickup along the lines of its iconic Brat Baja from the 1970s and 1980. They could launch their own Ute, but only if they receive enough requests for one. Oh, and this Subaru pickup will only be available in Australia.
Would Subaru really limit a new pickup to Australia?
Somehow, we don’t think the automaker would enter into developing a new model based solely on “requests.” And we find it odd that with compact truck sales so strong in the U.S., as evidenced by the Ford Maverick, it would limit production to only the Australian market. So let’s take the guessing out of this and say Subaru must already be in the development of a successor to the Baja or Brat.
Hyundai’s Santa Cruz pickup, which is how we expect Subaru will approach a pickup model, sold 36,500 units in 2022. And in 2021, its first year of production, it started off with 10,000 Santa Cruz pickups sold. For the Maverick, Ford sold 13,258 in its shortened the first year and almost 75,000 in 2022.
How many Subaru Brats were sold in the U.S.?
Those aren’t F-150 numbers, but they’re large enough to prompt a pickup spinoff of an existing model. In Australia, its competition would come from the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Nivara, and Mitsubishi Triton. These are huge sellers there. So packed with that information, it shouldn’t be too hard to point Subaru toward a four-door pickup.
Subaru sold its Brat pickup from 1978 to 1987 in the U.S. Australia’s version, the Brumby, saw its last year of production in 1994. Though this was decades ago, the automaker had a good run selling upwards of 100,000 in those 10 years of sales in the U.S., according to Quantrell Subaru.
What does Subaru say about a pickup?
Subaru’s Australian Managing Director Blair Read told Cars Guide, “It would be great. We heard the feedback on Outback. We heard the demand from the public and the Subaru buyers saying they wanted a turbo Outback. Tick, it’s here. So we’re listening, we’re watching, we read the comments, we go to the forums, we see what customers are looking for and it would be great.”
Taking Subaru’s Global Platform as the basis for the pickup, the Impreza, Forester, or Outback could be the launch point. So it wouldn’t need to tool up an entire vehicle from thin air. Let’s say around 75% to 85% of a pickup exists with these models.
Sounds like they’re making a new pickup to us
“We are always listening,” says Read. “We always listen to the customer. It’s not ‘what do we think?’ It’s ‘what is the customer saying, what are they looking for? We hear the (Brumby) question all the time and it has been a while, we get asked all the time. We go around Australia and we get asked, and we’re listening.”
Ok, then. That settles it. Expecting a new Subaru Baja or Brat by 2024 or 2025 is our best bet.