Subaru’s Canadian sales exploded last year, surging 10.9 per cent.

All that growth despite an uninspired marketing plan. Subaru spends piles of money sponsoring triathlons and rallies. No one cares about triathlons and rallies, other than triathletes and rally geeks.

All that growth despite a relatively modest spend on sales sweeteners. Astonishing. Subaru grew despite eschewing the kind of deal-making Canadians expect.

All that growth despite exteriors that look like they were penned by myopic engineers.

All that growth despite the fact Subaru’s interiors and infotainment systems are below subpar.

The Forester is Subaru's best-seller in Canada

The Forester is Subaru’s best-seller in Canada

Yes, Subaru last year set a record for sales, enjoyed its best December ever and has seen sales increase for five straight years. Why? Three reasons.

First, Subarus are very well built. They are durable and reliable. They have the longevity and dependability of a Sherpa guide.

Second, Subaru has stayed true to its brand. Every Subaru, other than the BRZ s

The Outback has been a strong seller. That said, Subaru needs Toyota's help with electrification.

The Outback has been a strong seller. That said, Subaru needs Toyota’s help with electrification.

orts car, comes with all-wheel drive. Subaru has the likeable authenticity of Bernie Sanders, the 70-something democratic socialist from Vermont.

Most important of all, though, is timing. Subaru is enjoying the great good fortune of a lineup filled with crossovers and SUVs (sport-utility vehicles) at a time when buyers are crazy for them.

Subaru's interiors are sub-par and especially pedestrian in the RVR.

Subaru’s interiors are sub-par and especially pedestrian in the RVR.

Compact sport utility/crossover vehicles were the largest segment in 2015, notes DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, adding that SUVs as a whole are the fastest growing segment in both the mainstream and luxury markets. The Subaru brand essentially straddles the mainstream and luxury markets. Perfect.

Subaru Canada’s sales last year (46,609) were grounded in three vehicles: the Forester at 12,706 units; the Outback at 9,992 units; the Crosstrek at 8,422. Crossovers accounted for two-thirds of everything Subaru Canada sold last year.

So we know the good news for Subaru. The bad news is that Subaru is an appalling laggard in connectivity, infotainment systems and fuel efficiency – especially in the electrification of powertrains. Worse, Subaru alone lacks the resources to be a world leader in any of those areas.

So Subaru needs a lot of help. It will come from Toyota Motor, which owns about one-fifth of Subaru’s parent, Fuji Heavy Industries. Look for Toyota to manufacture a quiet, creeping takeover.

If history has taught us anything about what happens when a monstrous company swallows a minnow, then Subaru’s authenticity and independence have peaked. Five years from now, look for a new generation of Subotas and Toyarus.

Bet on it.

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