Los Angeles CA, August 4th 2013, Subaru will have their work cut out for them going up against a stacked lineup in the Ford Camp. But an XGAMES RallyCross Gold medal for any of the 3 Subaru drivers, over all of the 7 Ford Fiestas will most definitely have a greater gain for their brand in renewing the faith among the Subaru’s cult following. To date Subaru has had a dismal showing in GRC RallyCross.
Despite Fords longtime standing in the WRC and rallying around the work, and their ever increasing strong sales, they have lost a lot of the rally cult following they once enjoyed in bygone days with the likes of the Mk1 and Mk2 Escort.
You will be hard pressed to find anything in a Ford dealership that remotely resembles any of the Fiestas that will fly through the air at XGAMES this weekend; Rally fans hold out a little hope for the soon to be released Fiesta ST, but the launch is not getting big Air, as you can't actually purchase the three door version in the USA, obviously there were too many accountants in that decision process!.
Yes without question winning is winning, and it transmits across the brand to all racing fans, but Ford has yet to bring a truly race/rally/rallycross inspired sport compact style car” in the current era” to the showroom floor; unlike what they what they did with the Mk1 and Mk2 escorts, 1600 Sport, RS 1800, RS 2000, Mexico, to name a few.
Subaru gladly took a lot of Ford’s rally fans and their car buying desires when they began winning with the Impreza platform. Rally fans could walk into dealers and purchase a rally blue Impreza that was visually identical, with rally inspired AWD to what Colin McRae had just put on the podium or spectacularly wrecked the prior weekend. Ford recruited Colin, but never really delivered a Focus to the Showroom to unseat the Impreza. Yes, no question< Ford sold hundreds of thousands of Focus’s over the Impreza, but not to the core cult they lost to Subaru.
Fast forward to today, and little has changed, although Subaru’s sales are improving yearly, they pail in comparison to Ford. Despite struggling against Block’s Fiesta on the Rally America’s stages, Subaru still holds that core cult following among Rally fans in the USA when it comes to car sales, it’s so very evident by the number of WRX’s and STI’s lining the roads at Rally America events.
Yes this is RallyCross and not rally, and Subaru has no heritage in RallyCross, but Manufactures would have their heads in the sand if they thought for a second that the majority of the people in the stands or tuning in were are not the same fans from stage rally.
Although there is a great upside for Subaru grabbing the Gold, I strongly feel that if they continue to have poor finishes or mechanical failures in RallyCross it will ultimately trickle down to buyers losing confidence in the reliability of Subaru. Of course Dodge and Mini are also in the RallyCross battle today, with Liam Doran’s performance to date in the ProDrive Mini, he’s definitely a contender to upset the show. But it’s really hard to know if Mini really cares to have us Rally types driving their cars with their half hearted effort in the WRC. Should Team Dodge/Pastrana shine, finding something on the showroom floor in the Dart lineup that makes the heart skip a beat is highly unlikely.
Let the battle of the brands commence,
TUNE IN: GLOBAL RALLYCROSS AT X GAMES LOS ANGELES
Sunday, August 4; 5pm ET on ESPN & ESPN3