MAKING A LASTING IMPRESSION
Paul Tunnicliffe, managing director of Subaru importer IM Group, believes returning to the BTCC was a chance to realign the brand in the public’s perception and show how it has developed.
Most motorsport fans think of rallying when they think of Subaru, but this is an opportunity for the brand to write an entirely new chapter in its history.
“Subaru was once all about blue cars, gold wheels and big spoilers and that was great while it lasted, but those days are long gone, killed by CO2 emissions and taxation, among other things,” says Tunnicliffe. “Team BMR originally suggested building a project around the WRX STI, but that didn’t appeal to us. It would have been easy for Subaru to follow the lead of Ford and Honda and enter with its performance model, but that’s not really what we’re about. SUVS and estates dominate our sales these days, and that’s what we need to publicise. We suggested the Levorg instead. Team BMR took a road car away, drove it, analysed it and came back to us to say they believed it would work well.
“It is a terrifically low-cost way to get the kind of TV exposure that would normally cost us much, much more. I’ve been delighted with the reaction since we announced the deal and everyone seems very excited about having the Levorg in the championship.
“It is all about awareness. We’re a tiny brand in comparison to some of our rivals and we need to get on people’s radars. If someone buys a Forester instead of, say, a Honda CR-V off the back of seeing our cars involved in the BTCC, that’s a fantastic result.”