Subaru's 'new course' soon to be outlined

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Back in June of last year, Ikuo Mori took the helm as Fuji Heavy Industries' CEO. His task: end Subaru's five-year long sales slump. Subaru's retail efforts have not lived up the automaker's expectations set in 2002, with a failed attempt at moving the brand up market and the slow sales of its visually challenged B9 Tribeca SUV (does the backend remind anyone else of a Morlock?) doing little to improve the brand's bottom line.

Little has been revealed about Mori's turnaround efforts, but in Subaru's annual report, he hinted that the automaker's focus on engineering over consumer appeal might be one of the first things to be nixed. A more focused effort on the c ompany's core business - automobiles - will be at the forefront, with a reduction in some of FHI's outlying endeavors, including its work in the aerospace industry.

Whether or not the future of Subaru lays in better brand management, with a special focus on its devotees, remains to be seen. But outside of several niche automakers, Subaru has a number of dedicated buyers in the U.S. and if Subaru wants to expand its market share, they'll have to make an attempt to encapsulate that enthusiasm to attract more people into their showrooms.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


[via] Autoblog

In Montreal, sell on Sunday, get pelted on Monday

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Quebec is probably the last place in North America where some businesses are still forbidden to open on weekends. Although the practice has long since dissipated in other retail sectors, car dealerships in Montreal still adhere to an archaic 35-year-old policy that dates back to when the Catholic church still had a strong hold on French Canadian society.

One dealership in this writer's home town is departing from that policy, and he's facing tough opposition. Pie IX Dodge Chrysler (pronounced pee nuf, on the street named after Pope Pius the 9th) is a dealership on the island's predominantly French east end, next to the Olympic stadium that once hosted the Montreal auto salon before it moved to the convention center downtown. They decided to open on weekends, selling cars on Saturday and Sunday, a move opposed by other area dealerships and their association (which also organizes the annual car show). Pie IX's sales have gone up, despite the protests outside. The demonstrators include salesmen from other dealerships (which remain closed on the weekend) and from nearby used car lots (which are open on the weekend). If new car dealerships were to open on weekends, the association says the salesmen will be overworked, while the used car lots will lose business. One protestor even went so far as to hit the manager at Pi e IX Dodge Chrysler in the head with a block of ice and was arrested for assault. Demonstrators were also thought to have jammed the dealership's phone lines.

Despite the opposition, and with support from DaimlerChrysler, owner Claude Leclair says he plans to keep his dealership open on weekends, quoting sales figures of over a dozen cars each weekend, while competing dealerships are suspected to be operating in the red. Kinda gives new meaning to the old Quebec separatist slogan "Vive la Quebec Libre" - long live a free Quebec.

[Source: The Montreal Gazette via Jalopnik]


[via] Autoblog

RR of the Week - Poll Results

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At 1:30 AM EST this morning, we closed voting on the closest Reader Ride of the Week poll we've ever seen. During the battle over the weekend, the margin between Adam's 1972 Austin Mini and Oli's Audi S4 was as little as one vote. As the polling continued, jockeying for the top slot became even more heated, until mid-Sunday, when the S4 gained a bit more momentum, finally propelling the autocross attack machine to victory with a scant 38 addtional votes.

We like to end things on a high note, so we'll be taking a brief hiatus from our RR of the Day feature as we regroup, mull over some proposed formatting changes and increase our cache of potential entrants. In the meantime, we'd encourage you to submit your own ride to our Flickr pool by following the directions after the jump, making sure to provide us with enough details to make an interesting post out of your whip.

But fear not, the RR of the Day will return! Show your support by submitting your ride and if you'd like to propose an idea or two, click on through to submit a comment.

Continue reading RR of the Week - Poll Results


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