Fuji Heavy Industries Inc. and General Motors are studying whether to give Saab dealers a version of Subaru's WRX wagon, and Subaru dealers are unhappy.
The dissension bubbled up at Monday's Subaru make meeting, which ran long because of complaints about the possible Saab version of the WRX. Leaders finally had to end the session to make room for an incoming Toyota meeting. About 90 percent of dealers' comments related to product sharing, said Dale Walker, a Washington state Subaru dealer and chairman of the Subaru national dealer council.
"The dealer body was just as emphatically disgruntled about sharing product with GM, as they were enthused about Lance Armstrong," Walker said.
Subaru told dealers Monday that it has signed cycling champion Armstrong to endorse Subarus for at least the next three years. Dealers called the tie with Armstrong excellent. TV commercials begin in April.
But that positive news wasn't enough to distract dealers from product concerns.
"We think they should keep the line pure," said Jim Lyon, a Subaru dealer from Ogden, Utah.