Subaru will mark 25 years of the go-fast WRX in New Zealand next year with 25 limited-edition models – and the birthday party begins at Steve Millen’s Leadfoot Festival in February.
The 25 cars won’t just be dressed up by Subaru NZ for the anniversary, either. They are being specially built by the factory in Japan.
A senior Subaru executive from Japan will be in New Zealand next month to work with Subaru NZ managing director Wallis Dumper on the build – things like the design of the wheels, palette of colours, style of anniversary badging and so on.
“We are negotiating right now because those cars will obviously need to be built by the end of this year,” said Dumper. “We were originally going to do them all in silver because it’s the car’s silver anniversary.
“But that limits it – many Kiwis like blue Subarus. The car we will promote, the lead car, will be silver, but we might do the rally blue or hyper blue, like the recent limited-edition WRX.
“That was really popular and we wish we could have had five times as many, but we just couldn’t get them.”
The 25-year knees-up will start with the Leadfoot Festival, on NZ motorsport champion Millen’s property in the Coromandel.
It will be dedicated in 2017 to the WRX. On display for the occasion will be 25 privately owned WRXs, chosen for their individual appeal by a panel of judges.
“We think it will be something a little bit different,” said Dumper. “We will run a competition for Kiwi WRX customers through social media.
“Those 25 people selected can bring their cars to Leadfoot and we are going to treat them to something special.
“We will try and get cars from each WRX generation. We want some of the original history but we also want the weekend to appeal to young people, those who weren’t born when the first WRX landed here in 1992.”
So, how many WRXs have been sold in New Zealand since ’92? “I don’t know because we haven’t prepared all of the year-by-year stuff for it (25 years) yet,” said Dumper.
“But what I do know is there are a lot of used imports. When the Impreza was born, in those days an Impreza was also a Impreza WRX.
“Our guess is a huge percentage of the used Imprezas imported were WRXs. Who knows how many are here?”
• Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. plans to change its name to Subaru Corporation next year, pending approval at the company’s shareholder meeting on June 28. “The purpose of this shift is to further accelerate our efforts to enhance the Subaru brand as a distinctive global brand,” the company said in a statement. It forecasts its global vehicle sales will top 1 million for the first time in 2017.