Subaru sends me surveys from time to time. One of the questions on the most recent one:
If we could go back and magically remove the All-Wheel-Drive component from your current Subaru and replace it with Front-Wheel-Drive - (additionally you would receive $1,500 cash and your vehicle would get a +2 MPG increase) - would you be happy?
No, I would want my AWD back immediately
Possibly – I would drive it a little and then make a decision
Yes, I would be happy to make this switch from FWD with slightly better MPG and some extra money back
OHMIGOD people are you serious?!? Would ANYONE with a WRX in their right MIND take a paltry $1500 and additional two (TWO. Not five or ten or twelve, but TWO) mpg for the loss of all that makes a WRX what it is--fun to drive, capable of driving in snow or turning corners at 30 mph, among other things??
I reamed them later in the commentable sections of the survey, after choosing the obvious answer to this particular question. Personally, I think they have die-hard fans right now. And if they get rid of AWD standard on all vehicles, they are taking a gamble--that their cars will become more mainstream. BUT. With that, they are also risking losing their die-hard fans, who see Subaru as different, independent, and a ridiculously great value for the money--but probably won't if they have to pay extra for their AWD.
I guess, to me, it's tantamount to a sellout move, and that makes me nauseous. Why can't you be happy with your extremely dedicated following instead of resorting to watering down your brand image/changing it entirely in a bid to gain market share? Maybe they won't. Fingers crossed.