Subaru New Zealand sets all-time sales record in 2018

  • he 2019 Subaru Forester was named the New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild Car of the Year and by December 31, its sales were up by 18.4% year-on-year.
  • Subaru’s popular large SUV, the Outback, continues as the number one seller, making up 36.5% of the total sales.
  • Following its launch in June 2017, Subaru’s second generation compact SUV, the XV, has performed phenomenally in its first full year of sales and was up by 78.5% year-on-year versus 2017.

Building on its 2017 success, Subaru of New Zealand has achieved an all-time annual sales record in 2018 with 3632 New Zealand-new Subarus sold in 2018.  

This figure is up by 8.8% versus 2017, where 3338 Subarus sold, which was the previous record. This is the seventh year of consecutive growth for Subaru in New Zealand, equating to a sustained period of sales success for the quintessentially-Kiwi, All-Wheel Drive brand. 

By global standards, while Subaru of New Zealand’s final numbers for 2018 may seem small, given the scale of Subaru Corporation Japan, it actually places Subaru of New Zealand as one of the top performing distributors worldwide. In fact, Subaru of New Zealand sell more Subarus than Subaru in the United Kingdom, despite the huge population variation between the two markets.   

Subaru’s popular large SUV, the Outback, continues as the number one seller, making up 36.5% of the total sales. For a long time, the spacious Outback has been the perfect car to navigate New Zealand’s natural playground and access off-road adventures. This well-equipped Subaru now has updated EyeSight and infotainment systems, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the across-the-range legendary Subaru features like All-Wheel Drive and a Boxer engine. 

Following its launch in June 2017, Subaru’s second generation compact SUV, the XV, has performed phenomenally in its first full year of sales and was up by 78.5% year-on-year versus 2017. 

The stunning XV was named the New Zealand Company Vehicle Compact SUV of the Year 2018 in December, which capped off a successful year for this stylish, capable All-Wheel Drive Subaru. 

The absolute show-stopper as far as awards and sales go was the new fifth-generation Subaru Forester. After its New Zealand launch in August, Forester quickly stepped up to being a star player by tripling sales in its first full month of sales in September. By December 31, its sales were up by 18.4% year-on-year. 

This packed-with-tech, family-friendly SUV had also gathered up four accolades by the end of 2018. Forester was awarded the 2018 New Zealand Car of the Year by the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild in December and only a week later was named the AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year Best in Class Medium SUV. 

NZ4WD Magazine bestowed the Subaru Forester with the Medium 4WD SUV of the Year 2018 honours last month and in October it also won the 2018 Stuff Motoring Top Medium SUV. 

As the popularity of SUVs continues, sales of Subaru’s three-model SUV range, bolstered by its performance vehicles (Levorg, WRX and WRX STI), plus the Legacy and the small-but-big-value member of the Subaru family - the Impreza - all drove the brand ahead by 8.8% year-on-year versus the automotive industry which was up by 1.1%. 

The brand’s official partnerships had some noteworthy milestones, with Subaru of New Zealand celebrating 20 years of its vehicle-supplying relationship with Ruapehu Alpine Lifts last year. 

Subaru’s successful event partnerships with the Leadfoot Festival – where Vantage Subaru driver Alister McRae backed up his 2017 victory – and the Kathmandu Coast to Coast, which were both held in February 2018, will have a Subaru of New Zealand presence again next month. 

New partnerships were also signed last year, with Subaru supplying vehicles to Federated Farmers and also partnering with the Ports of Auckland Round the Bays family fun run event, which takes place on March 3, 2019.  

Prominent Kiwi personality Matilda Rice joined the Subaru family as a brand ambassador last year and will be seen out and about initially in a 2019 Subaru Forester this year.  

The existing Subaru brand ambassadors had some stellar achievements last year, with Wanaka athlete Braden Currie finishing fifth in the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii. Rally driver Ben Hunt brought his Subaru WRX STI home second in the New Zealand Rally Championship. He finished runner-up to WRC driver Hayden Paddon, who was also a previous world champion for Subaru, winning the 2011 Production World Rally Championship in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. 

Subaru of New Zealand Managing Director Wallis Dumper says it was very satisfying heading away on holiday last month to reflect on what a fantastic year Subaru has had. 

“As a brand that is never scared to dare to be different and as a manager of a great team, who are all striving to make a difference and make things happen, you always want the best for your business. Last year, Subaru really made me proud on many levels. While the icing on the cake was the Subaru Forester being named the New Zealand Car of the Year on prime-time television show Seven Sharp, breaking the annual sales record again is also an incredible achievement.” 

“None of our accomplishments would be possible without our hard-working Subaru New Zealand team and also the dedication of all those people who are selling our cars through our 16 Authorised Subaru Dealerships around the country.” 

“With our country’s geography creating almost perfect All-Wheel Drive conditions, it’s little wonder they call New Zealand Subaru Country! We hope to help more Kiwis discover why it’s as if Subarus were made especially for New Zealand in 2019,” Mr Dumper concludes. 

*[All statistics were sourced from the MIA’s Common Segmentation Report December 2018] 


Catherine Pattison 
Public Relations 
Subaru of New Zealand 

M +64 (0)27 44 55 389