Subaru dodges questions on why it slashed Solterra electric-car price

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Subaru Australia has not acknowledged why it slashed up to $8000 from the price of its first electric car – which was $12,500 dearer than the cheapest Tesla Model Y – days before the first deliveries.


Subaru Australia has been unable to explain why it discounted up to $8000 from the price of its first electric vehicle, the Subaru Solterra SUV, days before the first customer deliveries.

On 22 February Subaru slashed between $6700 and $8000 from the price of its brand-new Solterra electric car, which initially would have seen the flagship variant top $90,000 drive-away.

It was cut days before the car’s near-identical twin, the Toyota BZ4X, was announced as between $2090 and $3990 cheaper than the two Solterra variants – or $8790 to $11,990 less than the original Subaru price.

The Australian division of the Japanese car giant has not been willing to directly answer questions – both prior to, and at the model’s local media launch five days after the price cut – on why it cut the price of the Solterra.

The company says it cut the price prior to the first deliveries so all buyers could enjoy the lower amount, but it has dodged questions on if it felt the original price was too high, if the car became cheaper to build since the original price was announced last year, or another reason.

“[The] key reason was [to cut prices] before customer deliveries, if we were going to reposition price, we wanted to do right by Subaru customers,” Subaru Australia managing director Blair Read told Drive at the Solterra’s launch when asked why the price was cut.

“So if we were going to make any adjustment in conjunction with the factory – who are very supportive of the market at the moment, we’ve got good opportunity on supply – it was the opportunity to do it.

To add some context, we’ve listed the starting price of the Solterra against the lowest price of its key competitors (all prices are shown before options and on-road costs), noting that the Subaru is the only model with an AWD variant as the entry-level model.

Model Variant Battery Range (WLTP) Price (MSRP)
Subaru Solterra AWD 71.4kWh 414km $69,990
Toyota BZ4X FWD 71.4kWh 436km $66,000
Tesla Model Y RWD 60kWh 455km $65,400
Ford Mustang Mach-E Select RWD 71kWh 470km $72,990
Hyundai Ioniq 5 2WD Standard Range 58kWh 384km $65,000
Polestar 2 Standard Range Single Motor 69kWh 518km $67,400

“All of those people, including the pre-orders, get the benefit of it [rather than if we] do it six months in or three months in,” said Mr Read.

Prices for the Subaru Solterra now straddle the related Toyota BZ4X, which was launched to Australian motoring media on the same two days last week as its twin.

The Toyota is priced from $66,000 for the front-wheel-drive version – which is better equipped than the base Subaru, but lacks all-wheel drive – and $74,900 for the flagship all-wheel-drive (AWD) configuration, both before on-road costs.

By comparison, Subaru Solterra prices are now $69,990 for the entry-level AWD variant and $76,990 for the high-spec Solterra AWD Touring model grade – the latter of which matches the BZ4X AWD on equipment but is $2090 dearer (all plus on-road costs).

Subaru’s revised pricing also brings it closer to the top-selling Tesla Model Y, which starts at $65,400 plus on-road costs for the rear-wheel-drive variant or $78,400 plus on-road costs for the Long Range AWD.

At the original price, the entry-level Solterra AWD was $12,500 more expensive than the cheapest Tesla Model Y.

“We believe it’s [price] competitive for what the vehicle offers for the complete value proposition.”

“I think we also look[ed] really closely at how it compares for the Subaru buyer who might be stepping up in the range from an Outback to something like the Solterra.

“I wouldn’t say we’re really so focused on purely other EV product because we believe there’s quite different customer types for the different EVs in the market. The positioning is more around where we believe the Subaru model sits in the range.”

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Tom started out in the automotive industry by exploiting his photographic skills but quickly learned journalists got the better end of the deal. With tenures at CarAdvice, Wheels Media, and now Drive, Tom’s breadth of experience and industry knowledge informs a strong opinion on all things automotive. At Drive, Tom covers automotive news, car reviews, advice, and holds a special interest in long-form feature stories.

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