Needless to say, Motor Image is very excited to introduce the all-new Subaru Forester into the Philippine market. The Forester is the brand's biggest volume seller, easily accounting for 40 to 45% of their sales in the Philippines.
Subaru has a new model slated for a January 2019 release in our market, and it packs a lot of improvements over the Forester that has been in the market since 2014. Apart from the new and improved architecture from the Impreza known as the Subaru Global Platform, the revitalized design (especially inside), and the addition of EyeSight driver assist technology, the new Forester is likely to continue accounting for the lion's share of the company's sales.
Subaru has indicated that of the four variants that were announced at the regional launch held by Motor Image in Taiwan for all of the countries that the company is responsible for, two will be available in the Philippines. The most affordable variant will be the 2019 Forester 2.0i-L, while the premium variant will be the 2019 Forester 2.0i-S EyeSight.
All Forester models will come standard with a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated flat-4 engine with 156 PS and 196 Nm of torque. Also standard is a Lineartronic CVT, as well as Subaru's signature Symmetrical AWD system.
But an important question remains: how much will it cost?
We had been asking Motor Image Pilipinas (MIP) general manager Gerry Hernandez for a price during the launch, but given that the official local launch is still a long way away, he couldn't give a clear answer until they finalized some details for our market. Now after a discussion with Tan Chong International's (the parent company of MIP) managing director, Glenn Tan, who flew into their headquarters in the Philippines to discuss the matter, we were able to get a much more concise indication as to how much the Forester will cost.
According to Glenn Tan, the 2019 Subaru Forester 2.0i-L will be priced at around the PhP 1.55 million mark. TCIL's managing director also said that more premium 2019 Subaru Forester 2.0i-S with EyeSight will be priced at just under PhP 1.8 million.
Mind you these prices are indicative, but give a much clearer picture of where the Forester will be positioned (price-wise) once it is launched in our market.
As we said during our first drive of the 2019 Forester, the model will no longer be available with a turbo. During the launch, Subaru's engineers said they will be focusing more on electrification technologies instead of turbocharging.