Subaru of America leaders told dealers at the make meeting that they will deliver new products supported by marketing and production levels to increase sales.
It's CEO Tom Doll's "promise to our dealers that more of them will be able to sell 1,000 vehicles a year based on the right product, the right product availability and the right marketing," Michael McHale, Subaru's director of corporate communications, said after the meeting.
Of Subaru's 630 U.S. dealerships, about 244 sell 1,000 vehicles a year. Doll wants to boost that to 315, said McHale.
Dealers said 2018 sales will be robust as long as the brand "stays on our marketing plan, increases the sales leads to dealers and, it's tough to match demand with production, but that's my hope," said Tim Morley, general manager of Flemington Subaru, in New Jersey. "It'll be an interesting year."
The key to boosting sales will be marketing, said Wally Sommer, president of Sommer's Subaru in Mequon, Wis., and chairman of the Subaru National Retailer Advisory Board. He said the board has ongoing conversations with Subaru to increase its marketing spending.
"The marketing is one of the huge strengths of this brand," Sommer said. "Retailers love it, and we want to see more of it and more investment in it."
During the meeting, Subaru executives told dealers the brand will launch the 2018 Ascent in July and will unveil the redesigned 2019 Forester at the New York auto show this week. The Forester goes on sale in October, McHale said.
The three-row Ascent crossover is expected to attract new customers to Subaru, said Patrick Wergin, vice president of Annapolis Cars, in Maryland.
"We've been seeing a lot of preorders for it since February," said Wergin. "We're seeing a lot of interest from families for it."
Subaru leaders told dealers the brand also will launch a plug-in hybrid vehicle for sale this year.
"It will not be a hybrid of the Forester, I can say that," McHale said. "It will be a hybrid to one of our current car lines."