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Subaru’s new can-do campaign pays off

Airbnb for cars: Web-based rental service Drive My Car lists private vehicles that are up for medium-term rent, and Subaru will add more than 100 XVs to the Imprezas already on offer.

Subaru Do campaign to engage new customers via peer-to-peer car rental program

Subaru logo23 Jun 2017

By TIM ROBSON

SUBARU Australia’s foray into alternate marketing strategies like ride-sharing is being heralded as a success, with the company claiming that up to 20,000 people have been exposed to models like the Impreza this year alone.

The company is hoping to repeat the feat with the just-launched XV, but it will take the concept a step further by actively courting sales from people who use the service.

Subaru Australia general manager of marketing Amanda Leaney told journalists at the launch of the XV that 101 Imprezas had been placed with vehicle rental company Drive My Car, which acts as an agent for private owners to rent out their vehicle, since March this year.

“The results we have achieved have exceeded our expectations,” she said. “We’ve achieved a 98 per cent utilisation rate, with a total of 6073 rental days booked.” Ms Leaney said that 80 per cent of the bookings were made by drivers using the service to source an Uber-compliant vehicle. Uber drivers are required to drive vehicles no older than nine years old.

“We will reach over 20,000 Uber riders over the three-month period,” she said.

“That’s 20,000 test rides, and 20,000 people seeing, touching and feeling the all-new Impreza. That is something that traditional advertising cannot achieve.”

Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie said the key advantage of its overarching Subaru Do campaign was the ability to try new ideas in a relatively risk-free way.

“We've had the Subaru Do new brand promise in-market now for about 15 months,” he told GoAuto. “It's all about removing obstacles. It's a very simple philosophy. Obviously, it's very complex to bring it to market, but at the end of the day, it's about removing obstacles fro our customers, and giving them options.”

Mr Christie said that 105 XVs would soon be added to the Drive My Car fleet and, unlike the Imprezas, would be used to build a database of potential buyers.

“We haven’t measured (Impreza sale) conversions, actually,” he admitted. “With the Imprezas, we just let people hop in the car. We haven’t accessed any of the data we just wanted to expose them to the product.

“With the XV, though, we will look at communicating more closely with the customer base to get a handle on what customers are interested in, and how they are interacting with it.”

Mr Christie is not concerned about the car-sharing business costing Subaru real sales, though the company is keeping its eye on the phenomenon.

“I think car sharing in the Australian market will be slower to be taken up than in most other markets for a number of reasons,” he said. “It’ll certainly happen at a point in time, but I think the reality is in a market like Australia, with its size and travel distances, the market over time will continue to grow, but we don’t see car sharing impacting car sales over the next ten years.”

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