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Subaru Forester a winner

The new-generation Subaru Forester SUV has won the 2018 New Zealand Car of the Year Award. 
Posted on 06 December, 2018
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The new 2019 Subaru Forester has been named 2018 New Zealand Car of the Year.

The SUV is the first Subaru to claim the accolade and also only the second SUV to take the prize – the first being last year’s winner, the Skoda Kodiaq.

The family-friendly SUV was chosen from a shortlist of 10 new vehicles by the NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild, an independent organisation comprised of 22 journalists from media outlets across the country.

Wallis Dumper, managing director of Subaru of New Zealand, says if most of New Zealand’s motoring journalists think the Forester “is the best SUV in the market, in fact, the best vehicle in the market, who are we to argue”.

“Thank you to the guild for taking the time to evaluate the Forester and recognise how incredible it is,” he adds. “Most importantly, thank you to the Kiwi Subaru drivers who have chosen to buy our Boxer-engine beauties.”

“We are honoured, but not surprised, it has been voted the best 2018 vehicle on the market as the Forester really is a game-changer for Subaru. We envisage this award will help further forge the success of our all-new medium-sized SUV and see it achieve similar sales records to our other SUVs.”

“The Subaru Forester makes an ideal New Zealand Car of the Year,” says guild president Richard Edwards. “It offers the durability and functionality Kiwi families want, alongside next-generation safety technology. And at $39,990 it proves New Zealand’s new-car market offers value to buyers never seen before.”

David Thomson, convenor for the selection process, is also a Forester fan, saying it’s a “fine addition to New Zealand’s mid-sized ranks, combining adventuring capabilities with around-town practicality in a way that few of its rivals can match.”

The guild’s vice-president Richard, Bosselman, compliments the SUV on its next-generation safety technology. “Traditional toughness and real-deal ability keeps the Forester sweet with loyalists, genuinely cutting-edge safety and assists deserve attention from a whole new audience.”

Twenty-two full guild members voted on 2018’s eligible cars. A sub-committee then selected 10 finalists. In the interests of statistical accuracy and regional assessment, only vehicles that been driven by 75 per cent of voting guild members were considered.

The timing is perfect for the 2019 Forester to step into the limelight because just as fashions have changed over the years, this is also the case with the automotive market. The large sedan is out and the SUV is in. In fact, more than 40 per cent of all new vehicles sold in New Zealand.

The Forester was first launched in 1997 and has always been a steady-seller, while in recent years other brands’ medium-sized SUVs sales have surged. 
Subaru of New Zealand’s marketing manager, Daile Stephens, and her team managed to get to the bottom of this, the guild notes.

“Through the process of defining our strategy prior to launching the new generation Forester model in August, we found out why,” she says. “Over the years, we have worked hard to establish ourselves as a wagon brand, which was reflected in our success with the Outback and Legacy. Many buyers still considered the Forester as a wagon, therefore didn’t even have it on their shopping lists when looking for a SUV for their family.”

This changed when the all-new 2019 Forester entered the market. It’s an entirely new vehicle from top to toe, and has physically grown inside an out.

Representing the Subaru team, Stephens was presented with the New Zealand Car of the Year’s Peter Greenslade Trophy live on Seven Sharp on December 5 in front of about 500,000 viewers.