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Welcome back to the all-you-can-eat Top-10 buffet! You know you want more, and AutoGuide’s happy to serve up another heaping helping of facts, neatly garnished with a sprig of fun. Grab a plate, load it up and tuck in to another generous portion of automotive infotainment.
10. Volvo C30 - 2,827 Units Sold
After checking out the top 10 best selling vehicles of last year, it’s now time to take a look at the worst performers on dealerships lots.
It isn’t a huge surprise to see the Volvo C30 on the list at 10th place, considering the Swedish automaker decided to give the vehicle the axe at the end of 2012. The Volvo C30 was on the market for six years in North America and sold only 26,000 units.
The Saab 9-6X concept was unveiled six years after being axed. The first pictures of the concept have hit the web and was unveiled at the company’s museum in Trollhättan.
The 9-6X was based on the Subaru Tribeca and was slated for production but the vehicle was shelved when GM sold their 20 percent minority stake in Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru’s parent company) in 2005. Interestingly, Saab also built a three-door prototype of the 9-6X, which would have been a unique vehicle if launched.
Both models are nearing the end of their production cycles, (or have arguably exceeded them), and neither will live to see a second generation reports the Nikkan Kogyo business paper. The made-in-the-USA vehicles are being scrapped both due to low sales, as well as larger logistical problems.
As concerns the Subaru Tribeca, development of a next-gen model has reportedly been scrapped and the loss of the SUV isn’t something Subaru execs in America are upset over, as it would open up an extra line at the company’s Indiana plant where it is struggling to meet demand for the new Outback and Legacy. So far this year, Tribeca sales have reached just 910 units.
As for the equally long-in-the-tooth Mazda6, it sold just 45,000 units in 2010, less than half of what Mazda was expecting. Too important of a segment to give up on, it’s hard to think Mazda would drop the 6 entirely, and the automaker is reportedly mulling a decision to move production of a next-gen model to a new plant in Mexico.
[Source: Automotive News]
A shortage of parts means that Subaru‘s Indiana plant will have its production cut in half through the end of the week, and the company will assess the situation on a day to day basis to examine whether a continuation is necessary.
Each of the two shifts will have 4 hours cut from their length. The plant builts the Legacy, Outback and Tribeca models, strong sellers for the brand. Toyota also builds the Camry at the same plant but said that its production was not affected. Subaru was attempting to set a sales record in 2011, after a strong year in 2010 which saw it make substantial gains. But Subaru’s status as a smaller automaker and a smaller supplier base to draw on means that it could be more vulnerable to disruptions than larger automakers like Honda and Toyota.
[Source: Automotive News]
It’s been revealed that Toyota is dipping its hand in the Subaru parts bin for the upcoming FT86 rear-drive sports car (slated to use a boxer engine and a modified version of the Legacy platform), but now it appears Toyota is also looking at ways the two manufacturers can share engineering when it comes to SUVs; specifically the Highlander and Subaru’s slow-selling Tribeca.
Both current models are slated to be dumped around 2014, though Subaru is currently working on a replacement for the current Tribeca coded 086A. However, it’s reported that Toyota will have a major hand in the project, since both the current Highlander and Tribeca are similar in size and configuration and shared componentry will be a good way for both manufacturers to save costs.
Although a common architecture will likely included a shared chassis and roof structure, challenges remain in how to adapt a variety of different powertrains. Subaru will be utilizing a version of its latest boxer engine for the new Tribeca, while Toyota will likely continue to use in-line engines and also a hybrid powertrain for the next Highlander.
Another challenge is how this singular platform will meet crash standards, since Subaru engines require a specific front floorpan and frame design to meet NHTSA requirements.
[Source: Motor Trend]
Osamu Namba, Subaru‘s new design chief wants to help move the company from a cult brand adored by outdoorsy types, Snowbelt buyers and performance enthusiasts into a mainstream brand capable of competing with offerings from major automakers.
“We want to broaden the appeal to make it accessible to more than a small, loyal crowd,” Namba said in an interview with Automotive News. According to Namba, form has traditionally followed function at Subaru, as their design was dictated by the low-mounted boxer engines, tall roofs (designed to help haul large items like bikes and other lifestyle gear) and sometimes outlandish wings and air scoops, necessitated by the rally-inspired performance items like big brakes and turbochargers.
Namba, who previously ran an independent design studio, was hired by Subaru after previous attempts at developing a unifying design language, faced a strong negative reaction from consumers. One review for the Subaru Tribeca famously called the new winged front fascia a “flying vagina”.
Using the current Legacy and Outback as a template, future Subarus will be more accessible, but also bolder, with fewer soft curves and more muscular styling, eschewing the understated and functional designs of the past. “I don’t want it to be just something serious and boring,” Namba says. “A lot of people don’t know that Subaru brand. If we can make styling more accessible, it will bring them in.
[Source: Automotive News]