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Future models - Subaru - Levorg

Subaru Levorg decision imminent

Wish you were here: The Levorg wagon (below) and a warmer version of the Forester SUV (left) are on the wishlist of Subaru Australia MD Nick Senior.

Australian future of warmed-over Levorg wagon to be confirmed in the coming weeks

Subaru logo18 Mar 2015

SUBARU Australia will know by the end of this month what the future holds for its Levorg performance wagon, with growing global demand proving a challenge for the car-maker's local arm.

The warmed-over wagon would neatly fill the gap between the hardcore WRX that is no longer offered in hatch guise and provide a smaller alternative to the new Outback wagon that arrived late last year.

But Australia will have to make itself heard among louder voices in North America and Japan to get any share of production.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said a decision will be made by the end of March on the model's Australian future.

"I'd love it but there has to be a business case but I'd rather not speculate too much on that," he said.

"Our biggest problem at the moment is being able to secure production. We have extensive wait-lists on Liberty and Outback. Around the world the US and Canada are going well, the Japanese domestic market had 8000 unfulfilled Levorg orders last month. It's a constant fight for production," he said.

Levorg was unveiled in prototype guise at the 2013 Tokyo motor show, offering a 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre turbo - both feature direct injection but the latter offers 221kW and 400Nm and the sports version of the continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Mr Senior said there was strong interest from the brand's Australian faithful, whose enthusiasm for Subaru has previously drawn product here.

"The amount of interest in it takes me back to the STI in the mid-to-late 1990s. It gave us enough ammunition to bring in the original 400 two-doors.

It's exciting and we keep our fingers crossed."Also on the company's wishlist for an Australian appearance is a performance version of the Forester - about which Mr Senior was also enthusiastic.

"There was a limited-edition Forester launched in Japan recently, it was an exciting vehicle in terms of its spec, it's been added to our wishlist but it is down the list a little bit, we'll wait for the Levorg decision and see how we go with Forester," he said.

The brand unveiled a limited-run STI-tweaked Forester tS that would form the basis of a new-generation Forester STI.

Currently a Japan-only proposition, it gets STI staples such as 19-inch BBS alloys over beefed-up Brembo brakes, lowered ride height and the obligatory interior and exterior styling upgrades.

There's no official word yet on the drivetrain - options include the WRX STI's 221kW/407Nm 2.5-litre flat four, which is only teamed with a manual gearbox in the sedan.

Another drivetrain choice could be a pumped-up version of the current Forester XT's 177kW/350Nm two-litre direct injection turbo (which would mean a CVT with manual mode) - that gets an extra 20kW when installed in the WRX sedan.

The Australian market has not had a performance version of the Forester since the 193kW/347Nm 2.5-litre five-speed auto S-Edition was discontinued in January 2013.

At the other end of the spectrum, buyers in the market for a Subaru people-mover remain unenlightened about a replacement Tribeca, with Mr Senior unaware of anything official at this stage.

“I've heard rumours but there's nothing formalised from the factory," he said.

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