"We wanted to be very clear in our communications not only what the name of this vehicle is, but that it's a three-row vehicle," said Alan Bethke, Subaru of America's senior vice president of marketing. The Ascent marketing campaign launched last week.
"You'll see 'three-row' very close to the word 'Ascent' in a lot of marketing communications, and that's not by accident."
The Ascent, which went on sale in June, marked Subaru's return to the hotly contested three-row cross-over segment. The brand's last entry in the segment was the Tribeca, which ended production in 2014.
The Ascent will be fighting in a segment dominated by the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse. The Ascent has been eagerly awaited by Subaru retailers as a way to move existing Subaru owners into a larger crossover instead of losing them to bigger competitors.
"We're coming out with a new model, with an all-new name that people weren't familiar with, in a segment where everyone's established and where we've been absent for a long time," Bethke told Automotive News. "And the last time we were there, we weren't overly successful.
"We've been doing very well in this market, but we're still going up against Toyotas, Hondas, Fords, Chevys and everybody else in the segment," he said. "Building awareness of the name and of the fact that Subaru has a vehicle this large, and in this segment — that really is job No. 1."
Subaru believes it now has a nameplate suitable for moving families up to a larger product, and that is reflected in the amount of family-friendly selling points highlighted in the campaign.