The U.S. is the single biggest market for Subaru, and it’s where the automaker sells most of its STI-badged cars, but we still miss out on most of the exciting STI products that Subaru offers in Japan and a few other select markets. That’s set to change, however, as the Japanese automaker plans on its expanding its STI offerings here.
STI, an acronym for Subaru Tecnica International, is the performance division of Subaru and is focused on three main areas: dedicated performance models, performance parts and motorsports. Right now only STI’s WRX STI is sold in the U.S. but the head of the in-house tuner plans to change that.
"The United States is the highest priority for STI," STI president Yoshio Hirakawa told Automotive News (subscription required). "We'd like to create a car that drivers can control like their own legs so they can push the car to the limit."
2014 Subaru BRZ tS
The recent unveiling of the BRZ-based STI Performance Concept at the 2015 New York Auto Show served as a preview of what’s to come, but before you get all excited about a new BRZ STI coming down the line note that we’re more likely to see a mid-range ‘tuned by STI’ (abbreviated to “tS”) version in showrooms rather than a dedicated performance model. Subaru currently sells two tuned by STI cars in Japan: the BRZ tS and Forester tS.
In addition to tS-like models, we should also see some official STI performance parts to replace the current Subaru Performance Tuning offerings. Potential items could include lightweight carbon fiber components, aero kits, and uprated wheels, suspension and brakes. There should also be an assortment of upgrades for the cabin.
The expansion of STI in the U.S. is part of Subaru’s overall efforts to strengthen its brand and create some excitement. It’s a move rivals such as Nissan and Toyota are employing with their respective NISMO and TRD brands.