There’s a local Subaru dealer in Orange County, Irvine Subaru, that has a pretty healthy inventory, especially if you’re in the market for an Outback. They have 57 to choose from, 12 of those are the Outback Wilderness. But it’ll cost you, as every single one is marked up to the same price: $45,673. The markup is one example of many that led to Subaru of America’s CEO to send out a letter telling dealers they need to stop.
The letter, sent to us through a tip, precedes another letter written by a Subaru customer to the company’s VP of Customer Advocacy Renee Rhem. In the letter, the customer says how they are frustrated that markups (with made up names for the charges) are putting the price of a new Subaru out of reach for them:
I’m writing to you as a very satisfied Subaru owner of almost 20 years but I’m having concerns as I’m planning on buying my next Forester. The “Low Inventory Surcharge” of $4,000 - $6,000 is puffing a new car out of reach for me. I do understand the supply chain problems and issues around getting parts but this is a very troubling situation. Are you planning on eliminating this tax in the near future? I’m certainly hoping you’ll be changing this so I can once again look forward to my (3rd) new Forester.
Apparently, this was enough for the CEO to notice. On February 23, Subaru of America CEO Thomas J. Doll sent out a letter to dealers. While it didn’t specifically mention any action Subaru will take against dealers to stop this behavior, it’s worded in a rather nice but direct manner. It’s probably one of the nicest, stern letters I’ve ever read. You can feel Doll’s disappointment.
Separating car dealers from Subaru retailers shows that this guy gets it. While it’s great more auto executives are stepping up to show they don’t condone the greedy behavior that’s going on at the dealer level, automakers need to get a bit more heavy-handed to show that this crap can’t continue. It just ruins things for everyone in the long run.