Subaru Australia is looking increasingly likely to go rogue on the naming of its forthcoming Impreza-based wagon, with a dumping of the unpopular Levorg badge in favour of the much-loved WRX Wagon moniker.
With the introduction of the Levorg in 2016, Australia effectively got a slightly softened wagon version of the resoundingly good VA WRX, but its confusing name drove a wedge between the new arrival and a rich rallying bloodline of WRX sedans and their big-booted equivalents.
The results were struggling sales and a marketing team that was forced to work needlessly hard to convince Australians that the Levorg was worth a look – which it was.
In its first full year on sale in 2017, the Levorg found just 1210 driveways – a fair way behind the 2614 WRX registrations for the same period, and the second smallest Subaru sales figure (ahead of the five-year-old BRZ).
However, when asked if that Levorg sales figure could have been better with a continuation of the WRX Wagon name, a panel of Subaru’s executive management responded only with a long silence, sharp intake of air and, said national public relations manager David Rowley, “That’s a very good question.”
When questioned on the return of the Levorg name for the VN (second) generation model, Rowley, Subaru Australia general manager Blair Read and marketing general manager Amanda Leaney remained tellingly silent.
Tantalisingly though, Rowley did offer a clue as to what Subaru’s Australian operations were planning for its local launch.
“It is very much a niche performance wagon, and it will offer a different level of excitement and performance in what it morphs into in Australia. Just don’t confuse it with what you see in Japan necessarily in terms of specification”.
In its native Japan, the model has already been firmly christened the Levorg but, given the namplate’s under-par reception, it’s likely the Australian team is negotiating a return to the more recognised boot badge.
When it touches down locally at a date to be confirmed, expect the new WRX Wagon to be a bespoke version that has been specifically formulated for Australian tastes and demands, along the same lines as the freshly arrived 2021 Outback.
Significantly, if the WRX Wagon does return, it will in effect be another new model for Australia. The last time the iconic badge appeared on the bigger boot of a wagon (technically hatchback), it was essentially the variant name with third-generation GR Impreza as the model.
No WRX option was offered for the following fourth-generation Impreza wagon, effectively ending the bloodline.
And with the switch to WRX as the model designation in 2014, that left the Impreza as a standalone line-up looking after the less performance-focused small hatchback and sedan.
It’s not known if other markets including Europe and the UK are also keen to revert to the more established brand and a new WRX Wagon, rekindling the spirit of the previous Impreza WRX wagon.
While the Levorg name is a protracted amalgam of acronyms derived from LEgacy, reVOlution and touRinG, the WRX badge applied to the boot of a wagon requires no translation.