The least surprising news ahead of the LA Auto Show this week was the introduction of the Subaru Ascent — a three-row, mid-size SUV and the biggest vehicle Subaru has ever produced — but the way the company introduced it was eye-opening. Subaru of America president and COO Tom Doll appeared on stage with a family of labs and golden retrievers.
If you’ve watched Subaru’s ad campaigns over the last few years, the dogs should be recognizable. They’re the Barkleys, a family of eight labs and golden retrievers that have appeared in a number of Subaru television and internet spots.
Dog ownership is as strongly common factor among Subaru owners. More than half of Subaru drivers are pet owners, with over 48% of them owning at least one dog. When we did a study with Car Talk and and a mathematician from Harvard on National Pet Day last year, we surveyed 3,500 people and found that pet ownership was directly tied to automotive brand ownership. Subaru owners were at the top of the list for pet owners who preferred dogs to cats. (Yet, the more cats you owned, the more likely you were to own a Subaru.)
The all-new U.S. built Subaru Ascent is the automaker’s largest vehicle ever, and it features three full rows, with plenty of comfort and convenience features even in the third row, which is usually nothing more than an afterthought.
“The Subaru Ascent has been designed specifically for families with adventurous lifestyles, so it is fitting that we had our four-legged family, The Barkleys, on hand to unveil our latest vehicle,” said Thomas J. Doll, president and COO of Subaru of America. “Our customers wanted a larger, go-anywhere SUV that families can be excited to get in and drive without sacrificing space. The Subaru Ascent delivers in a big way – it’s the biggest and most comfortable vehicle we’ve ever brought to market.”
The Ascent features Subaru EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology as standard equipment on every trim level, along with 19 cupholders — enough for 2.375 drinks for every human in the vehicle.
We haven’t done the “cup-to-dog bowl” conversion quite yet.