What’s in a name? Ask Subaru and they’ll tell you how important it is

The Subaru Forester has been around for over two decades and has made a name for itself in the industry. Although it is on the verge of becoming an icon for the company since it’s the kind of compact SUV that sells itself, Subaru recently made a blunder.

At the Singapore Auto Show, Subaru brought a special edition of the SUV called ’Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special.’ This created a huge uproar and people couldn’t stop mocking the FUCKS acronym. Subaru later apologized for it once it realized the unfortunate mistake. But, can you control the wildfire once it’s started?

’There’s No Such Thing As Bad Publicity’

The Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special took the centerstage of social media mockery once people figured out the acronym.

The Drive got its hands on a letter wherein the company blamed a local distributor for the incident. Although this sure was unfortunate from the company’s point of view, there were numerous ways Subaru could’ve handled it. As Harvey Specter says, ’when someone points a gun to your head, you take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty-six other things.’

How Would Elon Musk Have Handled This Situation?

Subaru Doesn't Give F.U.C.K.S About Naming Its Special Edition Car; Issues An Apology After Getting Mocked And Trolled
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Subaru could’ve easily let the audience assume this to be a marketing stunt.

It could’ve made fun of itself by saying anything on the lines of ’oh, we should’ve given some *acronym*’ before it hit the floors, or just laugh it off in a tweet, or do just about anything else. Even retweeting any of the news articles about this with a clever emoji could’ve led to more word-of-mouth about the SUV. The Forester, after all, did get the attention that it perhaps wouldn’t have if not for the name. But, instead, Subaru decided to bring all the heat upon itself for being naïve by issuing an apology letter.

Remember what Tesla did with the Cybertruck’s glass incident? It never issued an apology letter as such, and instead took the whole incident sportingly. There are rumors of it being a marketing ploy, but ultimately, this led to the Cybertruck literally becoming a household name.

It even affected the company’s stock prices to an extent, but in the long run, this will reap its benefits. Now, a company like Tesla doesn’t need such attention, but Subaru could’ve enjoyed its moment in the sun had it handled the situation in a better manner. Here’s what the letter reads like:

Dear Retailer:

Yesterday afternoon we learned about an unfortunate situation related to the name given to a special edition Forester by the independent distributor in Singapore. We want to make sure that you and all of your customers know that Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) and Subaru Corporation (SBR) had nothing to do with this.

We apologize for any negative feedback this may have caused. SBR has had the name removed from the car at the Singapore Auto Show. We work very hard to build a strong brand image for this company and the naming of this vehicle in no way reflects the values and standards we hold true. Furthermore, we will always do our best to protect our brand’s integrity.

This vehicle was created by the distributor for the Singapore Motor Show and it goes without saying that this car will not be available in the United States market.

What Is All This F.U.C.K.S. About?

Speaking of the F.U.C.K.S., the SUV is painted in blue and has red stripes running on the sides of the hood and extending under the window sills till the end. The bottom of the doors receive the same red treatment as well. The headlights and the taillights are blackened out, too.

As if this garish combination wasn’t enough, the designer decided to slap on lime green calipers.

However, the lowered stance, the 20-inch wheels with a dual five-spoke design, and the low profile tires look quite good. On the inside, it features leather and suede seats with red STi stitching. The armrest receives the same finish as well. A new updated infotainment system finds its space on the center console. For what it’s worth, there seems to be no mention of the acronym on the inside.

The Subaru Forester comes with a single-engine option across all the five trims.

It is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder Subaru boxer mill that makes 182 horses and 176 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to all the wheels as standard via a CVT transmission. It can tow a maximum of 1,500 pounds as well. In the city, the Forester returns 26 miles per gallon doubled by 33 miles per gallon on the highway. The 2020 Subaru Forester starts at $24,500 and goes all the way up to $34,600.

Final Thoughts

Subaru Doesn't Give F.U.C.K.S About Naming Its Special Edition Car; Issues An Apology After Getting Mocked And Trolled
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The Forester is an important product in the company’s U.S. lineup and the sales are consistently increasing every year.

In 2019, Subaru sold more than 180,000 examples. Knowing the Forester’s importance here, Subaru must have freaked out and issued an apology letter. Although it pinned the blame on the distributor who created and named the vehicle, Subaru came out looking like the one with a weak stomach.

At a time where companies are finding all the bizarre ways to stay in the limelight, Subaru passed on an opportunity that could’ve let the Forester gain some spotlight. I don’t know if it’s for good or bad, but the F.U.C.K.S won’t be available in the United States market.

Do you think Subaru played it a little too safe by issuing the apology letter? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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