Automotive industry news from Malaysia has revealed that Subaru, a once famous Japanese marque for its legendary Impreza 4WD super saloon and its Boxer engines, via Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia’s Nissan franchise holder and distributor, Tan Chong Motors. This Mou includes the possibility of assembling Subaru cars in Malaysia for the local and ASEAN market, starting with a compact SUV vehicle by the end of 2012.
Subaru six stars emblem
The MoU will most probably allow Subaru cars to be assembled in Tan Chong plants in Serendah or Segambut, in which both these plants assemble current Nissan models sold in Malaysia like the Grand Livina, Latio, Sylphy and Teana. They have announced one of the the models in which they will be bringing in is Subaru’s new prototype, the XV. It’s a crossover, like Mitsubishi ASX which was introduced a few months ago. However, I think they should introduce the CKD assembly of a ever popular model. Not the Impreza, the Forester.
The cool and funky looking Subaru XV crossover
One of Subaru more successful models, the Forester
The current generation of Forester was introduced in 2008 and was facelifted in 2011 in the US. Ranged from 2.0cc to 2.5cc engines, this SUV is expected to compete with other SUVs like the Honda CRV, Nissan X-Trail and Toyota RAV4. The car was based on the extended version of the Impreza, hence expect some sporty DNA from the Impreza to be seen in this SUV, which is a good thing for driving enthusiastic. Top Gear UK viewers should note that all the trio host of Clarkson, May and Hammond agrees it is a good car, which is a rare occasion all these three different hosts share a same opinion.
The current Forester sold by Motor Image is selling at RM225,000 which is steep for a compact SUV. However, local assembly might bring it below RM200,000 which is still way pricier than rivals like Honda CRV at around RM150,000. Anyway, the below is the video of the Subaru Forester advert from Australia
Actually in future we hope to see the introduction of the Subaru Exiga. Categorized as a station wagon, this seven seater wagon car has a 2.0cc turbocharged boxer engine and uses Lineartronic CVT transmission. These fast station wagon actually has appeal in Malaysia and Singapore, as can been seen in the popularity of the Toyota Caldina sold by grey importers. Powerful, fun and of cause practical, these are for petrol heads with family practicality in mind. Hence the Subaru Exiga should make perfect sense.
The Exiga should do well here
Here the video of the Subaru Exiga for your viewing.
Subaru are also manufacturers of mini cars or Kei cars (cars below 660cc for Japanese urban drivers). Due to conflict of interest with our country’s leading small car maker, Perodua, there is a very low chance we will see a locally assembled Subaru small car here. At least it could be a good thing, as Subaru did rebadge the Toyota Passo/Daihatsu Sirion to be sold as Subaru Justy, specifically for European markets. It is a car which has nothing a Subaru car is well known off from Boxer engines to all wheel drive. It is basically a Perodua Myvi with a Subaru logo. We do not want that here!
The Subaru Myvi? NOO!!
In short, we would love to see the XV concept to be bought here but seeing it is still a concept, it could be marked to cancellation, as parent shareholder, Toyota, still holds decision on how Subaru develops in future. I would rather hope Forester and hopefully the Exiga to be assembled here. I would love to see the Impreza to be locally assembled but the low volume for a niche model may be hard to justify to assemble in Malaysia. Apart of identifying the correct models, I’m more concerned about the pricing of local assembled Subaru cars and whether Malaysians can accept it. Still, welcome aboard Subaru!