Subaru Outback automatic diesel to made available in Australia.
Subaru Outback 2.0 will be offered in Australia with an auto transmission – the brand’s first on a diesel.
The continuously variable transmission will be offered on the Outback 2.0 from the first quarter of 2013. And it’s likely the Forester will also get one, but not until the next generation.
It’s likely to be welcomed with open arms – and now closed hands – by those who prefer not to shift for themselves, Subaru says.
Subaru has had overseas engineers working with local ones to tweak the transmission for local conditions.
Subaru managing director Nick Senior says the carmaker knows Aussie buyers are keen for automatics on diesel vehicles.
“We know there’s massive pent up demand for auto diesels, particularly in rural and regional areas, so it’s a great opportunity for us to meet the needs of those customers,” Senior says.
“Diesel Foresters and Outbacks represent up to 20 per cent of sales of those models, so the addition of the diesel auto Outback for Model Year 2013 is significant news for Subaru.
“The CVT transmissions in our petrol cars are a huge hit, typified by new XV and Impreza, so we can only see good things for Outback auto diesel.”
Having said that, Subaru admits they want one on the Forester as well but says it is in the future.
“We want to get an automatic in the Forester as soon as we possibly can, but it will not be in the current generation,” Subaru spokesman David Rowley says.
“The current Forester will be superseded early next year and we’re discussing with (Subaru parent) Fuji Heavy Industries as to when the CVT diesel will be available to go into that. We don’t have that fine timing yet but are very keen to see it in the Forester.”
Rowley says Subaru can expect to see a sales jump in both Outback and Forester when their automatics arrive. “The lack of an automatic is the only thing holding those sales back,” he says.
“We’ll be able to grow those substantially with the auto available – and it will be genuine growth in both ranges (rather than people simply moving across from the manual versions).
In the compact SUV segment in which both Outback and Forester sit, the automatic will give them firepower against similarly equipped Hyundai ix35, but Subaru could also go hunting Europeans such as the Skoda Yeti and Mini Countryman.
“It’s fair to say we can see some conquest sales,” Rowley says.
Subaru will announce the Outback 2.0’s full specifications and price-tag closer to launch.