NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This is a review of Subaru's first hybrid car, the XV Crosstrek. It carries a base price of $26,820, which includes destination.
But first, let's consider Subaru's amazing success in the U.S market. In the month of July 2014 alone, Subaru sold 45,714 cars in the U.S. market, up 27% over 2013. That's approximately 100 times as many cars as Tesla (TSLA) sold in the U.S. market in July.
Year-to-date (July), Subaru sold 283,722 cars in the U.S. market, so it is on track to reach approximately 500,000 cars for the full year. That is approximately 30x as many cars as Tesla is expected to sell in the U.S. market this year, and almost 15 times as many as Tesla is expected to sell globally.
Considering that Subaru is significantly more profitable than Tesla, does this mean that Subaru should be awarded a market cap of at least 30 times Tesla's fully diluted $37 billion, or approximately $1.1 trillion, making Subaru the most valuable company in the world by a factor of more than double?
Probably not. With a Tesla selling for on average $106,000, Subarus go for approximately one quarter that amount. So perhaps a market cap a quarter of $1.1 trillion is more appropriate, i.e., $275 billion.
In terms of growth rate in the U.S. market, Subaru sales were up 16% for the first half of 2014. In contrast, Tesla's U.S. sales were down 26% for the first half of 2014.
In the U.S., Subaru carved out a niche among the prototypical outdoors person in the Colorado Rockies, thanks to its standard always-on four wheel drive system in cars available at reasonable prices. In recent years, Subaru also seems to have taken over SAAB's old role in cornering other nice demographics such as college professors in Boston and militant lesbians in Vermont.
Analyzing the Subaru Crosstrek XV's body, the best way to describe it is that it's basically a smaller version of Subaru's two more popular models: Forester and Outback. Subaru looks to sell approximately 70,000 of these Crosstrek XVs in the U.S. this year, or twice as many cars as Tesla looks to sell world-wide this year.
Thanks to the Crosstrek's elevated height compared to a regular car, it is very easy to get in an out of it. The base model I drove had a cloth seat, and it has very soft cushions for bottom and back alike; it basically feels like you're sitting in a plush sofa. I like it!