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Subaru Loses Its Cool Over Hot SUVs

The Tribeca tanked. Can the a new SUV planned for 2018 propel the brand beyond its crunchy roots?

Subaru, a tiny, conservative Japanese brand, is about to build a big, brash, American-style SUV. It’s either an exercise in kaizen—slow, steady improvement—or a complete loss of cool.

To be sure, the market is there. Americans are ditching their sedans for SUVs at a dizzying pace. Subaru, however, has become one of the hottest car companies in the country by soberly keeping production below demand and making a few great cars, none of which is a traditional SUV per se. In other words, a super-sized Subaru could be a profit machine or a exercise fraught with distraction.