What Subaru Changed With the All-New 2015 Outback

Subaru's U.S. chief explains what changed -- and why -- in the all-new Outback.

Jun 10, 2014 at 6:45PM

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Subaru's U.S. chief Tom Doll stands with his boss, Fuji Heavy CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, in front of the all-new 2015 Outback at the New York International Auto Show in April. Source: Subaru.

Subaru announced last week that its all-new 2015 Outback would start at $25,745, a price that puts it just about $100 above the starting price of the outgoing model.

That's a tiny increase for an all-new model, but Subaru says it's hoping the new Outback will increase its sales.

That's not to say Outback sales have been bad -- not at all. It has lost some sales recently to Subaru's own Forester, which was new last year. Forester sales are up over 50% so far this year, while the (outgoing) Outback's are up a little over 4%.

But for much of its life, the Outback has been Subaru's best-seller in the U.S. -- and the U.S. is Subaru's most important market. 

Subaru is the automotive division of Japan's Fuji Heavy Industry (NASDAQOTH:FUJHY). It's a much smaller company than Japanese rivals Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Honda (NYSE:HMC), with a much more limited model range. But the company updates and refreshes that model range exceptionally well, and its endearing, long-lived products have earned it fierce customer loyalty. 

Subaru's careful approach to updating its products has worked out very well for Fuji Heavy, and for its shareholders. The stock isn't well-known in the U.S., but maybe it should be: Over the last two years, it has risen more than 250%. 

Subaru revealed the new Outback at a big event at the New York International Auto Show in April. We were there, and we got a close-up look at the new Outback and spoke to some of the people responsible for it. 

We also captured much of the presentation on video to share with you. In the segment below, the third of three parts, you'll see the new Outback moments after it was revealed to the media. You'll also see and hear Subaru's U.S. chief Tom Doll talk about all the ways in which Subaru improved the Outback for the new generation -- without messing with the basic formula that has made the Outback a favorite for so long.

If you missed the first two parts of this series, you can catch them here and here.

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