Subaru has been explaining its apparently extraordinary decision to drop the best-selling versions of the Impreza range when the new model goes on sale in October.
Currently, the rally-inspired four-door Impreza WRX is by far the most important model in the range. Turbocharged models - the WRX and the even more extreme STi - account for 70% of all Impreza sales in the UK.
When the new range arrives, however, there will be no WRX, and the current four-door saloon or five-door estate bodies will be replaced by just one five-door hatchback.
Power will initially come from 1.5- and 2.0-litre petrol engines, and a new STi with a turbocharged 2.5-litre engine will be added in February. In 2009 there will also be a diesel for the first time, using the new flat-four engine revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
'The decision to drop the WRX was taken for political reasons,' Subaru says. 'We have been charged with selling more non-turbo models in the UK and Europe to lower our average carbon dioxide figures.
'The decision to go five-door only in Europe (Americans get the car in saloon form) allows us to compete on a more even footing with the likes of the VW Golf and Ford Focus. Hatchbacks are by far the most popular models with this size of car in the UK. We think these two measures will give us more widespread appeal, particularly among women drivers.'
• Subaru also revealed an updated version of the seven-seat Tribeca 4x4 at New York, even though the current car has been on sale in the UK for only six months.
The front and rear ends have been redesigned, the third-row side windows are bigger to give driver and passengers a better view out, the suspension has been retuned and a 3.6-litre engine replaces the 3.0-litre version, offering more power (256bhp) and pull (247lb ft), with no impact on economy or emissions. Access to the third row of seats has also been improved.
It comes to the UK at the end of this year.
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