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Subaru woos older buyers and women

Subaru is retraining the sales executives in its UK dealer network in order to tackle the mindset change that comes with selling its new hatchback Impreza.

The Japanese carmaker has developed the new model to move away from its performance orientated image of the past to improve sales of the normally aspirated model.

Sales staff will go on a four-day training session to focus on selling to women with young families and older buyers in their mid-50s, which it says makes up 70% of its potential market.

The training session covers product, competitors, finance opportunities, accessory sales and customer profiling, particularly the inclusion of female buyers. Sales staff will also take a test drive in the new model.

Lawrence Good, managing director of Subaru UK, said: “I cannot stress how important the new Impreza is. It brings us many more opportunities to grow volume and by definition profitability.”

Subaru accepts it will be a challenge to get new customers into showrooms.

Arthur Fairley, PR director for IM Group, the official UK Subaru importer, said: “In our market research we found that a woman’s impression of the Impreza was that it was reliable, handled well, but it has gold wheels and it wasn’t something they wanted to drive. The changes Subaru has made to the model will counter that.”

A national press campaign has been launched and the Impreza will also feature as the headline sponsor on three Sky Movies television channels.

Subaru will also be doing a direct mail out to 75,000 prospects and will stage Impreza displays at major shopping centres in October and at the start of November.

Good said the company would be using its upside down Impreza lorry to support the new brand strap line ‘Subaglue, it sticks to the road’. The lorry will be touring the UK’s main cities.

Good said: “This is just the start. The campaign will continue after Christmas. As we seek to grow our share of normally aspirated sales and broaden the appeal of the Subaru brand to a much wider group of customers.”

Subaru hasn’t completely abandoned its performance roots. The WRX STI version of the Impreza will arrive at dealers in November, but there will only be 300 units available.

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