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The WRX is heading for the biggest makeover since it was created in the 1990s as part of the product renewal plan that's already seen the new Impreza on the road and will soon produce a next-generation Forester. But the workload at Subaru in Japan, including development of the BRZ sports car and then getting it into full-scale production, means there is no chance of an early update to the WRX.
"I don't know where talk of 2013 would have come from. The WRX has always been 2014," the managing director of Subaru Australia, Nick Senior, confirms to Carsguide. "The strategy that was put in place three years ago was that the WRX and STi would take on a life of their own. And the Impreza becomes a standalone model as well.
"From a timing point of view, Impreza was first cab off the rank, then the introduction of the BRZ as well. The timeline for WRX and STi slots into 2014." Senior refuses to discuss rumours of a radical remake of the WRX that turns it into a sportier compact hatch, despite persistent talk around the world and dozens of artist's impressions of how the car could look.
" It will be performance oriented, and a visually exciting car," is all he says. "I think the enthusiasts will not be disappointed. It has been a mandate from day one when doing this next generation that it is not to lose its edge." While the WRX is over the horizon, the new Forester is closing fast and brochure pictures of the newcomer have recently hit the internet.
Senior says the car is locked for Australia and hints at a motor show appearance in the USA soon, either at Los Angeles in November or Detroit in January. "We'll have a new Forester in quarter one. They are working through the launch plan as we speak. They haven't decided where they will show it."
Turning back to the WRX, Senior says he is not worried about the 18-month run-up to the arrival of the new-model. "The WRX has been oner of the most consistent performers we've had in the stable. Month-in and month-out, we are regularly around 150 to 170 cars in Australia.
"But it also reacts extremly well to special editions, and we sold over 300 last month with the latest Club Spec with organge and black colours. It's almost a sellout." He says there will be extra editions through 2013 but refuses to give any detail.
"We're looking, obviously, at keeping it fresh with one or two special editions between now and the end of the model life. Short and sharp and sweet. "There is a lot of competition in that segment but the WRX is still recognised and admired.
Iconic is an over-used word, but to have somethign that's been around since 1994 and still kicking along at 150-plus a month ... "We're not at the supersonic levels of the dot-com era, but a lot of people would like 150 units of a $40,000 sports car every month."
And what about the BRZ, and hopes of getting extra cars for Australia?"We're tyring desperately without much success. We're out to July next year," Senior says glumly.