SUBARU has rebuked the idea that with ever more stringent emission regulations STI could be axed in the near future.
Speaking exclusively to Car Dealer, the firm’s marketing director Kenyon Neads was adamant that the WRX STI performance brand will not follow the Honda Civic Type-R in being axed in the UK, due to falling foul of EU emission regulations.
‘Absolutely not at all,’ said Neads. ‘There are no plans to shelve STI as it has received very strong reviews from both press and enthuisaists alike.
‘STI is also going from strength to strength in terms of its reputation – only this month we have announced new upgrades. For a limited time only, customers will get an added 20bhp and sat-nav added free of charge, making the car even more attractive in this sector. We are very upbeat about STI.’
On whether the STI range sits awkwardly in a culture gearing towards electric vehicles, Neads said: ‘Put it like this. We also sell a 3.6-litre six-cylinder version of the Outback. It’s by no means a big seller, but there is a proportion of our buyers who appreciate the sophistication of the six-cylinder, and the cost of filling it up doesn’t matter to them. These are niches markets, and while these markets are becoming smaller it is still worthwhile for Subaru to be in them.
It’s a market which has very recently got smaller, believes Neads. The Subaru director admitted to us that he thought the STI’s greatest rival – the Mitsubishi Evolution X – will slip off the price lists after current supply has ended.
We contacted Mitsubishi for a comment who directed us to a press statement which read: ‘Production of the current Lancer Evolution X continues as planned… However, as the markets needs and demands change, MMC (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation) is considering not advancing the Lancer Evolution concept in the same way as before, but to find a different direction for the Lancer Evolution model to evolve.’