Subaru Australia is hatching a plan to add a wagon to the WRX line-up -- but the only catch is the company may be forced to use the awkward international name, Levorg, which not only sounds weird, it spells ‘grovel’ backwards.
The Levorg due to be released in Japan in April is in effect identical to the WRX in terms of its core body structure and turbocharged engine, but has a wagon rear-end and a different badge.
Carsguide understands that Subaru Australia is under pressure to take the global name for the Levorg, if the car were to be sold locally. However, it costs millions of marketing dollars to establish a new name, which could potentially kill the project before it begins.
If Subaru Australia were given an exemption to rename and rebadge the Levorg as a WRX wagon then sales would likely be higher because the WRX has instant recognition, say industry marketing experts. “We have not announced any plans for Levorg,” said Subaru Australia boss Nick Senior. “But obviously we look at all models if they are made available to us.”
Carsguide understands that a WRX wagon -- or Levorg -- would still be at least two years away from Australian showrooms. But it can’t come soon enough. The $40,000 performance-car market is dominated by hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and Renault Megane RS because of their added practicality.
Although hatch and wagon versions of the WRX have typically only accounted for about 15 per cent of WRX sales when they’ve been made available in Australia, buyers have clearly shifted to a hatch market. Subaru Australia says the Levorg is on its “wish list” but it was too early to speculate on whether head office in Japan would allow the use of the well-known WRX badge.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling