Suburu is reportedly ending plug-in hybrid (PHEV) production, focusing its electrification efforts on battery-electric vehicles and hybrids using Toyota technology.
Nikkei Asia reports Subaru will phase out PHEV production in light of weak sales. The PHEV version of the Crosstrek (XV) – Subaru’s only plug-in – accounted for just one per cent of total Subaru sales in the United States last year, or 2600 units.
Subaru has never offered a PHEV in Australia, though it sells hybrid versions of the Forester and XV and will offer a hybrid version of its new Crosstrek this year.
Also due in 2023 is the all-electric Solterra, a twin of the Toyota bZ4x.
Subaru developed the Solterra with Toyota, which has a 20 per cent stake in the company. However, Nikkei Asia reports Subaru is likely to develop battery-electric vehicles (EVs) on its own moving forward.
It reports Subaru will use hybrid technology from Toyota and launch new hybrid models around 2025.
The focus on electric vehicle technology will see Subaru invest US$1.8 billion (A$2.6bn) over the next five years.
The development includes an EV factory in Gunma, north of Tokyo, opening in 2027.
Subaru has announced that by 2030, 40 per cent of its revenue will come from hybrid or EV models.
Sales of PHEVs in Australia increased from 3372 units to 5937 in 2022, but EVs have become more popular with Australians.
Last year, a total of 33,416 EVs were sold in Australia.
Some companies have opted not to bring their latest-generation PHEVs Down Under, including Kia with its latest Niro and Mercedes-Benz with its new GLC.
Conversely, Audi will once again offer a PHEV, this time in its popular Q5, while the Mazda CX-60 will be the Japanese brand’s first PHEV.
Numerous brands have announced plans to phase out not only combustion-powered vehicles but also PHEVs. For example, Volvo will exclusively sell EVs from 2026 in Australia and from 2030 globally, by which point the likes of Bentley, Maserati and Mini will also have EV-only line-ups.