When the latest generation of Subaru WRX debuted, reception was... mixed. Some hated the black plastic that wrapped around the bottom of its body, while others promised that once you see it in person, it really isn’t that bad. But a new car is always, at the end of the day, judged by its sales — a front on which the new Rex is not doing well.
Subaru released its year-to-date 2022 sales figures last week, and shortages certainly hit the automaker hard. Overall sales were down 17.5 percent from the previous year, with only the Ascent, BRZ, and Crosstrek showing any improvement over 2021. But even among its low-selling siblings, the WRX stands out: Its sales dropped nearly ninety percent from 2021.
The plastic cladding can’t take all the blame, though. Parts shortages have hit established vehicle production lines hard, let alone a brand-new one like the WRX. Subaru even shut down production of the car earlier this year due to a lack of parts, which could help explain why there are only 353 new 2022 WRXes available on AutoTrader nationwide right now. It’s hard to sell a car when you don’t have any cars to sell.
This past March, in fact, was a bit of a recovery for the sport sedan. Subaru sold 341 WRXes in January, already low compared to the 1,555 it had sold during the same period in 2021, but that number dropped to just thirty one in February. By that metric, March’s 204 sales are a considerable uptick — despite the drop from years prior.
It’s unclear where the bottleneck in WRX sales lies, whether buyers don’t want the car or whether Subaru simply can’t build enough to meet demand. But with no end in sight for parts shortages, it may be a long time before the new car’s sales can be judged by their own merits.