Subaru UK has gone against the trend in the motor industry by telling its dealers not to handle grey imports. This is because the high-performance Impreza (pictured below) has been a favourite among bargain seekers and the new model is going on sale.
Most of the 2,000 Imprezas reaching Britain unofficially each year are the 280bhp STI and Subaru UK is trying to cut the flow. Impreza accounts for more than half of the International Motors company's sales.
This year, Impreza sales in the UK will be down to about 5,500 units - an inevitable dip in its run out year. Hopes for next year are 7,500 sales, boosted by the addition of a 1.6 litre model, but still with 60% of sales taken by the turbo.
##New Subaru--none## Subaru UK is jealously guarding its number one ranking in the UK's JD Power customer satisfaction survey. "Because grey imports are not approved for Europe, our dealers cannot maintain them to the same standard," said Sam Burton, Subaru UK sales director. "We don't have the right diagnostic equipment.
"We've spent more than 20 years building up the brand and image and don't see why others should benefit from our hard work."
This firm stand has been taken despite other importers - notably Mitsubishi - deciding to embrace buyers of grey imports in a move of conciliation.
The appreciation of the yen against the pound - up 26% in the last year - will also make grey imports less attractive.