Confidence.That is the key word that is reflected on the Subaru stand at the Johannesburg International Motor Show. In keeping with the company’s new global brand statement – Confidence in Motion – Subaru has arrived at the motor show with confidence in its range, dealer network and future prospects.

According to Satoru Furusawa, managing director of Subaru Southern Africa, the new global brand statement has signified a crossroad for the company. “Subaru never aims to be all things to all people.

Driven by our own vision of what mobility should be, by technological ingenuity and engineering excellence, we aim to make cars that stand out as distinctive and functionally superior. We want to deliver cars that offer our customers complete peace of mind. Subaru is about having the confidence, the peace of mind, to go anywhere. It’s about enjoying one’s life through exploration, and continually embarking on fresh adventures,” he explains.

Confidence in Motion expresses the core Subaru characteristics. “Driving confidence has been a key and constant ingredient in every Subaru model ever made. It reflects our deeply held belief that you can and should have both maximum safety and total driving enjoyment, without sacrificing the one for the other,” says Furusawa.

Furusawa says that the new brand strategy comes at a time when Subaru must chart its course in a volatile and fast-evolving global car market. “Today we see two very different market realities.

As growth levels off in most mature markets, the competition is focused on diversifying needs and preferences in terms of style, safety and environmental performance. Meanwhile, as sales volumes grow significantly in emerging markets, automotive manufacturers are locked in fierce competition for market share,” he notes.

Subaru – which sold 650 000 cars in 2010, amounting to a global market share of just under one percent – is determined to claim its fair share of that market. “As such, we’re moving ahead at a rapid pace with new product development and technology programmes. We’re boosting the effectiveness of all our business processes. And we’re working with alliance partners to realise new business opportunities,” he explains.

Furusawa says that, in keeping with the Confidence in Motion brand statement, the company will focus even more on emphasising enjoyment and peace of mind to customers. “Until now, Subaru has relied on its exceptionally rational qualities to attract customers around the world.

Our core customers trust us because of the impeccable levels of safety, durability and reliability that we offer. They respect our technology and love the way our cars drive. In order to win the hearts and patronage of customers beyond our core following, we will emphasise the enjoyment and peace of mind that come with owning and driving a Subaru,” he explains.

And, if there is one car that truly offers enjoyment out on the road, it is the brand new Subaru XV, a car designed for the urban adventurer.

“This is a brand new crossover vehicle, which offers tremendous functional ability – thanks to its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a muscular and sporty exterior, and a spacious and stylish interior. This vehicle will compete in the Cross-over segment of the market. We believe it provides buyers with an attractive proposition; we have extremely high hopes for this vehicle, which arrives in South Africa in the first quarter of 2012,” he comments.

The new XV complements an extensive and successful product offering – which can be divided into two broad categories: lifestyle and performance. Significantly, all of the vehicles in the range feature two core Subaru competencies: the Boxer engine combined with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

The lifestyle range comprises the Forester, Outback, Tribeca and new XV. “The Forester combines the ruggedness of a SUV with the manners of a passenger car to offer sporty handling and superb safety,” comments Furusawa. “The Outback is a superb all-round tourer, which merges the characteristics of a station wagon and a SUV. The Tribeca is a luxurious sports utility vehicle, or SUV crossover, which is both powerful and plush.”

The performance range comprises the Legacy GT, WRX, WRX STI. The Legacy GT is the flagship of Subaru’s passenger car range while the WRX and WRX STI are iconic, Nurburgring conquering sports sedans.

These vehicles are available from Subaru Southern Africa’s extensive network of 18 dealerships and service centres. “In keeping with our slogan of Confidence in Motion, the dealers are there to inspire confidence in the Subaru brand.

We are investing in upskilling the dealer network in order to enhance our already high levels of customer satisfaction. Our customer retention rate is already amongst the highest in the industry; the Subaru customer is a very loyal individual. However we are mindful of the need never to rest on our laurels in this regard,” says Furusawa.

The message is clear. Subaru is facing the future with confidence – and so to is its customer base. “We are committed to giving motorists an exceptional driving experience and we will achieve this with great product, backed by an efficient dealer network,” concludes Furusawa.