Pric­ing: the fix is in

Subaru Aus­tralia boss says “stay tuned” for trans­par­ent ser­vice costs


SUBARU may have capped­price ser­vic­ing through­out its model range by the end of the year.

The Ja­panese brand is con­spic­u­ous among the top 10 brands for its lack of trans­par­ent pric­ing for rou­tine main­te­nance. At the mo­ment, Subaru cus­tomers want­ing a ser­vice quote need to fill out a de­tailed on­line form or con­tact a deal­er­ship.

“It’s still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. We are look­ing at it,” Subaru Aus­tralia boss Nick Se­nior says.

“One of the ad­van­tages is that we have been able to see what ev­ery­one else is do­ing. We’ll sit down and we’ll have a look at it. “Stay tuned.” Capped-price ser­vic­ing has been wel­comed by car buy­ers and copied by the rest of the in­dus­try af­ter Toy­ota in­tro­duced it in its 200-plus dealer net­work in 2008.

Mit­subishi was next, with capped price ser­vic­ing from Jan­uary 2010, fol­lowed by Nis­san (De­cem­ber 2010), Ford (July 2011), Holden (April 2012), Kia (July 2012) and Hyundai (Au­gust 2012).

Volk­swa­gen’s and Suzuki’s full range has had capped price ser­vic­ing since May 2013, Honda in­tro­duced it in Oc­to­ber 2013. Mazda fi­nally joined the fray in Jan­uary with the launch of its new Mazda3.

This week, Ford ex­tended its fixed-price ser­vic­ing cov­er­age to seven years and 135,000km.

Mean­while Subaru is hatch­ing a plan to add a wagon to the WRX line-up. The only catch is its awk­ward in­ter­na­tional name, Levorg, which not only sounds weird, buts spells “grovel” back­wards.

To be re­leased in Ja­pan next month, the Levorg is in ef­fect iden­ti­cal to the WRX in terms of its core body struc­ture and tur­bocharged en­gine, but has a wagon rear-end and a dif­fer­ent badge.

Cars­guide un­der­stands that Subaru Aus­tralia is un­der pres­sure to take the global name for the Levorg, if the car were to be sold lo­cally. How­ever, it costs mil­lions of mar­ket­ing dol­lars to es­tab­lish a new name, which could po­ten­tially kill the project be­fore it be­gins.

If Subaru Aus­tralia is given an ex­emp­tion, it would dis­card the Japlish name for a sim­ple WRX wagon.

“We have not an­nounced any plans for Levorg,” Subaru boss Nick Se­nior says. “But ob­vi­ously we look at all mod­els if they are made avail­able to us.”

Cars­guide un­der­stands that a WRX wagon would be at least two years away from Aus­tralian show­rooms. But it can’t come soon enough. The $40,000 per­for­mance-car mar­ket is dom­i­nated by hot hatches such as the Volk­swa­gen Golf GTI, Ford Fo­cus ST and Re­nault Me­gane RS be­cause of their added prac­ti­cal­ity. Skoda’s new Oc­tavia RS adds fur­ther prac­ti­cal­ity to the mix.

Al­though hatch and wagon ver­sions of the WRX have typ­i­cally only ac­counted for about 15 per cent of WRX sales when they’ve been made avail­able in Aus­tralia, buy­ers have clearly shifted to a hatch mar­ket.

Com­ing? The Levorg is

re­ally a WRX wagon

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