Subaru and Mazda are like twin sons of different mothers. Both are small players in the auto business who have carved out a niche of devoted followers by doing a few things really well. Both are happy to play at the margins while the big boys fight over the middle. Over the years, Subaru has gained a reputation for building reliable cars that offer a high degree of occupant safety. But to keep up with changes in the marketplace, particularly in China, it needs to add electric cars to its offerings.
To make that happen, the company’s CEO, Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, told the press last week that his company will focus first on adding electric motors to its current models rather than creating a separate electric car division as Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz are doing. “If there’s already an attractive Subaru model, for example the XV crossover, and if a customer in Beijing wants one but is only allowed to buy an electric vehicle, if there’s no electric version then he can’t buy it,” Yoshinaga said. “Providing the choice of an EV means the customer can still desire the same Subaru.”