The Good: Bright spots are hard to come by in the automotive realm. But one manufacturer is bucking the trend: Subaru. According to Automotive News, Subaru will likely post a sales increase for the year, albeit a small one. Through the first 11 months of 2008, sales were up 1.2 percent. Total U.S. light vehicle sales were down 16.3 percent.
The Bad: Subaru, an iconic force in the World Rally Championship (WRC), has announced it won't return to the series for 2009. Subaru's WRC team, overseen by the British Prodrive consortium, spent 20 years in the sport and captured six World Rally Championship titles.
"Subaru's success in rallying has given the brand recognition, and made the term WRX virtually a household name," says David Richards, Prodrive's chairman.
The throngs of cultish Subie fans will be wiping the tears for some time to come, and it is hard to see a concrete reason why the carmaker would leave WRC. There is a lot of banter about the proposed move to a "spec" car for the '10 season. Subaru claims it has "obtained its goal" in WRC, but hints it could participate in the Production Car World Rally Championships (which will still use Group N cars) in the future.