The company will also retain its long-standing relationship with its agency, Disciple, according to Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie.
“We will launch with a completely new marketing campaign through Disciple and continue with the ‘Subaru do’ campaign which we have had for two years,” he told GoAutoNews Premium in Tokyo.
“We are looking at how we can maximise ‘Subaru do’ for Forester. This campaign has been very, very successful for us because it makes the car relevant to the customer and shows how they can experience their lives through our product.
“The cars are stars of the ‘Subaru do’ campaign but it’s about how the cars can facilitate the customer’s lifestyle and aspirations.”
The company says the changes in marketing have been designed with great caution. Up until this year, the Forester was Subaru Australia’s best seller – the XV crossover is now more popular – and it is a vital tool in the brand’s growth.
Any change to the car’s marketing or design or features list not only affects Australia with its near-250,000 Forester sales here since its 2002 inception, but it has a huge impact on the factory as the local sales represent a massive one-quarter of Subaru’s global sales of the model.
The new Forester, which has a higher level of safety and is slightly roomier than the one it replaces, will also bring a new audience to the model and the brand, Mr Christie said.
“The target market for the next Forester, I think, will capture a slightly different demographic to the existing model,” he said.
“We have sold almost one quarter of a million Foresters in Australia. We will absolutely look at being engaged with all those customers that have had the Forester in the past but I think that one of the areas that we will start to attract is younger families.
“I think this car is perfect for the younger family audience. We have a terrific success with the slightly older audience in previous generations. Now it has more appeal to the younger family with a couple of kids because of the extra features and the enhanced safety.
“There are more features as well. Even the rear seat has access to storage flaps in the driver’s seat back for storage of lots of things such as iPads and phones and there’s extra charging points in the back and large storage areas.
“That brings everything that has been good about Forester in the past, and now includes features for everyone else and for dealers, a new opportunity for us to talk to an audience that perhaps we didn’t talk to before.”
Backing that up is a string of new features including the innovative DMS (driver monitoring system) that includes facial recognition with five settings for all the family. The DMS watches the driver’s face for signs of a distraction before sending a warning.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) continues with its EyeSight name appearing on all next-gen Foresters. Both are aimed specifically at family safety and also designed to lure fleets with the system’s occupational health and safety approval.
By Neil Dowling in Tokyo