Subaru App Could Lower Insurance Costs

by Tom Talbott on December 12, 2016

Subaru is on a roll.  8 consecutive years of sales records and a long list of top industry safety, reliability, and resale value awards to boot. The introduction of the new Subaru Global Platform on the new 2017 Impreza marks the beginning of a new era, a chassis platform that over the next couple years will be employed on all models.  Subaru dealers in Portland Maine and Providence RI area/North Attleboro Massachusetts have seen customer enthusiasm push sales upwards, and by any measure it should continue.

2017 Subaru Impreza features the new Subaru Global Platform.

2017 Subaru Impreza features the new Subaru Global Platform.

The 2017 Impreza also unveiled 8 new apps. All of them are interesting, but one in particular is catching ears and eyes. The RightTrack Test Drive from Liberty Mutual Insurance monitors your driving habits, and ahem, recommends improvements.

Sounds like a back seat driver!

Essentially it is, but with out a whiny voice.  If you purchase a Liberty Mutual Auto Policy, you can enroll in the RightTrack program. You will receive an initial discount on your premium if you complete the test period.  There is no charge to participate. It plugs in easy, and you are supposed to drive normal for 90 days. It will give you a report that is both interesting to read, and potentially one that can suggest some safety tips.

Put your blinker on!    Who taught you how to drive?


Subaru Love Promise

by Tom Talbott on November 21, 2016

What is a ” Subaru Love Promise”,  and what does it possibly have to do with selling cars?

The answer is, it’s not about selling cars.  It’s about doing the right thing. A pledge by each dealer to go above and beyond, to do what’s right, and to serve the people of the community in which they do business.  It’s a commitment to make a positive and lasting impact in the neighborhood, and hopefully by extension, the world.  It is a promise to reach out through the strength of each employee to partner and participate, to lead by example, to do what is right just for the sake of doing it.

The Subaru Love Promise Reads:
I believe in being more than a Subaru retailer.  I believe in being a part of my community. In setting an example. In building lifelong relationships. And in ensuring the love that is felt not just by our customers, but by all. Not because it is good for business. Because it’s the right thing to do.

Patriot Subaru Service Techs Repair A Wheelchair For A Customer

Patriot Subaru Service Techs Repair A Wheelchair For A Customer

As a company, Subaru delivers the Love Promise by its avid partnerships with numerous non-profit organizations and charities.   The focus tends to be on nonprofit education, health, seniors, environment, and animal organizations. The common theme of all organizations is their dedication to improve the lives of people around the world. In the past 20 years, Subaru has donated over 50 million dollars, as well as tens of thousands of hours of volunteer time.

While there is action year round,  the big annual event is known as the “Share The Love Event”, where Subaru corporate joins hands with dealers nationwide.  For the past 8 years starting in mid-November, Subaru pledges $250 for every new Subaru sold or leased.  4 or 5 national charities are selected, as well as 1 local charity selected by each dealer.  It is the customer who gets to choose which one of the charities will receive the $250 donation. Since its inception in 2008, the Share The Love Event alone has donated 65 million dollars to charity.  By the end of this season, it will top the 75 million mark.

Subaru dealers in Portland, Maine, and the greater Providence, RI/ North Attleboro market have embraced the Love Promise commitment.  Whether it is event driven, such as bi-annual pet adoptions at the store, raising money for the planting of shade trees in the local parks, or Labor Day Weekend events to raise money for teen programs,  the stores have fun and work hard.  However, it is more than just time-framed events.  The Love Promise is everyday.  It could mean driving out to a customer’s house to return a book they left at the store.  It could entail a group of associates working together on a Habitat For Humanity house.  Or it could be staff members marching together in a city parade to show support for a program. Everyday brings something new, and a chance to do a good deed for someone else. It’s very much in the vein of committing a “random act of kindness”.

Does it sell cars? No, not necessarily. But perhaps some cars are sold because of it.  When you do the right thing, good things will happen.



Up On A Roof With Patriot Subaru

by Tom Talbott on September 16, 2016

Passion to help others leads to some to reach new heights. In this case, a Saco, Maine auto dealership’s roof top.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, a UPS employee in Maine has place in his heart for an organization called STRIVE, which is dedicated to helping teens and young adults who struggle with developmental disability.  Fund raising is always important, but equally so was the need to raise awareness for the STRIVE program. So he decided to take things up a notch, and do something unique.  Read more about STRIVE at the tail end of this story.

On September 1, Kevin climbed to the top of Patriot Subaru in Saco, ME.  He was equipped with the essential camping gear – tent, sleeping bag, change of clothes, non–perishable food items.  He vowed not to come down until $30,000 was raised from donations provided by the community.  Great idea!  Except, who’s going to know?  And, just how long was he willing to stay?  After all, Kevin was employed by UPS.  They supported the idea, but how long would he be out of work?

Kevin Fitzgerald, on the roof at Patriot Subaru, raising money for STRIVE.

Great view, but not much to do!

The plan was for donations to be made via people visiting Patriot Subaru, texting KEVIN to 71777, or using an online mobile app. For each $10 donated, the donor would receive a raffle ticket good for prizes from sponsors. $1000 gift card to Irving Oil, $500 Gift Card to LLBean, camping gear from Kittery Trading Post, gift cards to Ground Round, Smitty’s Cinema, and Funtown USA.   Assistants from STRIVE would be at the ground desk most of the daytime hours. The nights, were all Kevin. During those hours, if a donor came to the store, Kevin would lower his bucket to receive the donation.

Kevin On The Roof, Patriot Subaru, Saco, ME

Kevin Fitzgerald lowers his bucket for donations to STRIVE from the roof of Patriot Subaru.

The Labor Day weekend weather was beautiful, and the community was more interest in the beach and backyard BBQ’s.  Donations came slowly.  Through that following Tuesday afternoon, a full 5 days, donations had inched forward to about $8000.  Not bad, but at this rate, he’d be on the roof for a month!    Then it clicked.  With curious TV stations reporting,  radio stations pleading his case to “bring him down”,  and a barrage of social media sharing,  the drive to bring him down from his perch began in earnest.  By Thursday noon, the “thermometer” moved past the $30,000 mark goal!  169 hours elapsed time, but the goal had been accomplished.    Donations kept coming, finally topping out at $32,480 as Kevin climbed down to the cheers of family, friends, STRIVE associates and the entire Patriot Subaru team.

Kevin On The Roof for STRIVE, at Patriot Subaru, Saco, ME

Kevin nearing the end of his 169 hours on the roof of Patriot Subaru.

Notably, the dollar amount was a huge boost to the STRIVE program. Equally, if not more, was the amount of coverage and awareness that came from the media. Says Kevin, “Each time we do this it gets attention, and families that can benefit from the programs STRIVE has to offer learn about it, as well as get involved. It’s twofold – money and awareness.”

Finally back on the ground, Kevin was asked what he was going to do first.   “I’m going home to take a shower.” said Kevin.  “Make that about 3 showers!”

STRIVE is actually an acronym:  Socialization, Transition, Reflection, Innovation, Vocation, Education.  Based iin South Portland, Maine, the focus is to address the varied  issues faced by tweens, teens and adults (ages 11-24) with developmental disabilities.  This includes programs that assist in developing  fundamental academic skills, building leadership potential,  bettering economic opportunities via continuing education, and improving work related skills. The long range goals are to enable these young folks to become more integrated into the community, with a sense of pride, ownership, and confidence.


Subaru Boxer Engine Celebrates 50 Years

by Tom Talbott on July 31, 2016

Subaru had humble beginnings.  Starting in 1954, the first vehicle, code name P-1, rolled off the line.  Only 20 were made.  Not a good start. Over the next 12 years, the factory inched along, bringing out an air-cooled 360 in ’58, and another called the Sambar in ’61.  Not going anywhere, change was needed.

The year was 1996, and down the assembly line came the Subaru 1000 with fanfare – it had a boxer engine.  Delivering a paltry 54HP, the Subaru 1000 had just enough power to push sales forward for the company that sorely needed a boost.  The water-cooled engine used overhead valves driven by pushrods to deliver power to the front wheels.

Subaru 1000,  1996.

Subaru 1000, the first Subaru featuring the boxer engine, 1996.

The boxer design itself was not new. In fact, in 1996, the patent for a boxer design was 70 years. old. It had a good name behind it too – Karl Benz,  who put the Benz in Mercedes-Benz.  The design is basically the same as the typical V setup,  but it had 180 degrees between the two banks of cylinders.  Cylinders set up opposite each other have better balance, causing less vibration.  It also allows the engine to sit lower in the compartment which achieves a lower center of gravity, a safety feature.  Over the years, a handful of manufacturers have employed the boxer, but only two have made it the centerpiece and cornerstone of their fleet. Subaru, and Porsche.

Subaru has now produced over 16 million vehicles with the Boxer design.  With the addition of Subaru’s unique All-Wheel Symmetrical Drive in 1972, Subaru was setting itself apart from the competition.  The Subaru half car/half truck BRAT caught people’s attention in 1978, but it was the introduction of the iconic Legacy in 1989,  Impreza 1993, Outback 1994, and the Forester 1997 that launched Subaru’s ascendancy.   These models all went through stages of refinement, truly breaking through over the past seven years with too many awards to mention. We’ll mention one – Subaru’s outstanding record of safety – noted by the IIHS year after year as a Top Safety Pick.  Your Subaru dealers in greater Portland Maine and the greater Providence RI area can tell you all the details of the Subaru safety initiative.

All eyes are on the launch of the 2017  Impreza this fall, with the latest generation of the esteemed boxer engine.  In addition,  Subaru will unveil its new Global Platform. These changes in the vehicles underpinnings will reduce vibrations, resulting in an even smoother, quieter ride.  The design is more rigid which improves steering response and body roll.  The Impreza will have a lower center of gravity, giving it more responsiveness and drivability.  Subaru also says that the new platform will provide 40 percent greater crash energy absorption – safe gets even safer.

Exciting times are ahead for Subaru!

2017 Subaru Impreza

The all-new 2017 Subaru Impreza.




Why Service Your Car With Your Dealer?

by Tom Talbott on July 7, 2016

When you purchase a vehicle, you should also be thinking about how you’ll go about service and maintenance. First off, following the manufacturer’s service schedule is vitally important. Those guidelines are established to be sure that important components are checked at the right times, so that your car is running smoothly and safely.  If one item is wearing improperly, it can start a chain reaction of wear on other parts that can lead to a breakdown.

A reputable dealer knows that it’s the service after the sale that customers truly appreciate and respect. If there is to be repeat business, it is earned through the work of the service department. That is why a dealer invests heavily in hiring technicians who have the highest level of training,  and the very best tools and diagnostic equipment to handle the job.

At your Portland, Maine and Providence, RI based Subaru stores, all technicians are ASE Certified, short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.  In addition, technicians have earned additional levels of certification from Subaru, with many earning the highest level of Master Technician.  If there is a problem, they’ll find it and fix it correctly, assuring your safety and satisfaction.

Today’s vehicles are loaded with computer technology, and they require the diagnostic equipment to handle it. Some of the gear can cost over $100k.  Dealers are required to make this investment to maintain their status as an authorized dealer.  In fact, the gear is linked directly to factory service experts who can monitor all the activity, and use that data to understand potential issues with the fleet.

Dealers are also required to carry genuine OEM, aka Original Equipment Manufactured parts to service their vehicles.  This assures that the repairs can not only be done promptly, but the parts will be correct and compatible with the vehicle.  For example, a Subaru dealer would carry genuine Subaru OEM parts and accessories, and use them when making any repair to ensure quality.

All to often, a dealer will see a car come in that has been serviced by an area garage that has misdiagnosed, used an inferior after-market part, or utilized incorrect fluids or oils in the engine.  The result is even greater damage, which jeopardizes or in some cases invalidates the manufacturers warranty.  Now the repair has to be done again, and usually at at even greater expense.  This places the dealer in an uncomfortable position, as the customer thinks that they’re being taken advantage of, but that is not the case.  If the owner had taken the car to the dealer in the first place, the work would have been done under warranty, and if there was an issue after the fact, the dealer would be responsible.

Convenience is also a consideration. Many dealers offer shuttle services so you can drop your car off and get a ride to work and back.  Some stores will have loaner cars available if your car needs to stay overnight for longer repairs. Most dealers will have extra comforts and amenities in the waiting area, such as desks with computer terminals, Wi-Fi, quiet rooms, children’s play areas.  At our Subaru store in Saco, Maine, we have bikes that customers can use on a trail behind the store, as well as a vegetable garden that some customers enjoy working in while they wait.

So, the best approach to efficiently and properly maintaining your vehicle is to utilize the resources available right at your dealer.  The prices are always competitive, and most important, you know it will be done right. If there is ever an issue or concern, you know you can take your concerns right to management who oversees the dealership, and is just as committed as you are to see you are happy with your experience.

Patriot Subaru Service Bays - North Attelboro, MA

Service Bays at Patriot Subaru, North Attleboro, MA






How My Subaru Communicates…or What is that Light?

by Tom Talbott on June 21, 2016

On a Subaru dashboard, there are over 20 little icons that will light up to relay some kind of important information to the driver. They’re going to alert you to an issue that you may want to pay attention to sooner rather than later. Kind of like, “Car here, letting you know I have an ache,  and would you mind taking a look at it before it gets to be a real concern?”

Subaru Service Icons

Now, some of them may light up when you start the vehicle, that’s normal.  Some of them may be easy fixes, like the reminder for the driver or a passenger to buckle their seatbelt,  a door that has not closed all the way, or that your gas is getting low.  Others may require you to respond by calling your Subaru service center in Saco, Maine or North Attleboro, MA promptly, as continued driving may cause damage or be unsafe.  Examples there would be the icons for the SRS air bags not functioning properly, or the brake system not working properly.

Typically a well maintained vehicle will not have these kinds of service issues. If you stay on track with the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance plan, the vast majority of these problems will never occur under normal driving conditions.

Your Owner’s Manual will have the definition for each symbol and warning light,  as well as your vehicle’s Maintenance Plan. Stick to it, and avoid the hassle of the “Check Engine” warning light.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety annually performs extensive testing on vehicles, all makes and models, to  assess the vehicle’s ability to withstand a crash. Essentially, they want to evaluate how the car will protect its most valuable asset – the people inside.  The IIHS conducts rates the performance, and those that earn good ratings in a variety of categories are named as a TOP SAFETY PICK.  Vehicles with superior ratings are awarded with a TOP SAFETY PICK + evaluation.

Subaru has always prided itself on safety, and it bears out in the IIHS ratings.  Not just one model, but in fact the 2016 Subaru Forester, Impreza, Outback, Legacy, Crosstrek, and WRX were all TOP SAFETY PICK + recipients.

2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick +

There are five tests to assess the crashworthiness — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — plus a basic rating for front crash prevention.  There are size categories, as the size and weight of a car will influence the level of protection.  Naturally, if you want to drive a tank, you’d be well protected, but it’s not practical!    Heavier, larger cars do offer more overall protection.  Thus a small car that earns a category award will not necessarily offer more protection than a larger car that does not receive an award.

The Impreza, Crosstrek and WRX earned their honors in  Small Car,  the Legacy and Outback in the Mid-Size,  the Forester in the Small SUV.

Your local Portland, Maine and Providence, RI Subaru dealers can show you more, including the industry leading Subaru Eyesight system.  It’s a virtual extra set of eyes on the road to make driving safer than ever before.

2016 Subaru Outback

The 2016 Subaru Outback



The new 2017 Subaru Impreza will be rolling out in the fall 2016, the first Subaru model to  feature the “Subaru Global Platform”.  What that means is the introduction of a modular chassis, that will become part of all models in the lineup.  Subaru says this new design will increase the car’s overall feel on the road, adding both more agility as well as power.  We took a closer look.

Patriot Subaru 2017 Subaru Impreza

With a modular chassis, a car manufacturer is able to share more mechanical items between the models they produce.  This isn’t new. GM started the process in 1908.  In the 60’s, we saw Pontiacs, Buicks, Chevrolets, and Oldsmobiles all using the same basic framework.  The primary reason for doing this is economics. If a manufacturer can share costs over several models, they reduce costs, and can keep prices down.

Subaru is on an incredible run of success over the past five years.  At the time of this writing, Subaru has had 53 consecutive months of yearly month-over-month sales increases.  The demand continues to grow.  It’s more than just making cars faster.  They need to make cars smarter, and more efficiently, without sacrificing any of the performance and value that makes Subaru a top consumer pick for both reliability and safety. Your Subaru stores in Saco, Maine and North Attleboro, MA have seen first-hand the demand, and look forward to the incoming 2017 models.

The new Subaru modular platform offers 70-100 per cent greater rigidity compared to the current chassis, which means vibration from the road will be reduced and felt through both the steering wheel and seats.  That provides both driver and passenger with a  more comfortable ride. In addition, impact energy absorption increases 40 per cent, which means even greater safety.  Subaru already earns IIHS Top Safety Picks for the entire lineup, so to improve upon this is extremely impressive.  We’re not finished.  Subaru projects that the center of gravity will be lowered, which improves handling. The rear stabilizer will be mounted directly to the body which lowers body roll by 50 per cent.

Patriot Subaru Blog

We started by talking about the Impreza rollout, so we’ll finish there.   The 2.0 liter flat four engine will now have direct injection which boosts the HP from 148 to 152.  The transmission will get a Lineartronic CVT with a 7 speed manual mode.  The 2017 Impreza will be the first Subaru ever with steering-responsive headlights. Inside, power seating has been added, first time for the Impreza, and the infotainment center has a fleet of upgrades.  The Eyesight® system also is enhanced with Lane Assist, Rear Cross traffic alert, and high beam assist.  Also, the 2017 Impreza is the first Subaru model to offer automatic rear braking when an object is detected.

Your Subaru stores in Saco, Maine and North Attleboro, MA can’t wait to have them on the lot!







The Patriot Subaru Genius Helps Customers

by Tom Talbott on April 5, 2016

So you just bought a new car, congratulations!  You drive off the lot and look to turn on the AC.  Hmm, it’s not the same kind of control as your previous car.  Darn, wish you had asked before you left the store. Come to think of it, wish the dealer had synced up your smart phone too, that would have saved time.  And, why does this rear view mirror have all these buttons? That’s different. Yikes!

At Patriot Subaru in Saco, ME and North Attleboro, MA, the worry turns to fun, as you spend time after the sale with the store’s personal Subaru Genius.  These associates are there specifically to go over all the functions and special features of the vehicle before you leave, so you know your car inside and out.   Patriot Subaru provides hands-on demonstrations for every feature and benefit of a customer’s new vehicle. This includes all the fun infotainment aspects,  as well as safety features, comfort controls, and basic functionality.

Cars equipped with dashboard touch-screens can be intimidating to some folks.  The Genius will help you through!  Interior discussion will also include items such as the airbags, how they work and where they are located.  Ever wonder when the best time to use the recirculating air fan is?  Ask the Genius.  There are things under the hood as well, such as how to check the oil and fill the wiper fluid -easy for some – but not everyone!

Before you leave the store, your phone will be synced up with Bluetooth and tested. Heating or AC will be demonstrated. Seat positions adjusted. All the displays on the “heads up” console will be discussed, and all the buttons, paddles, and switches on the steering column put to work. Today’s vehicles come with so many incredible computer based options, customer’s love the opportunity to sit in a nice relaxed manner and have someone of knowledge explain all the interesting components.

Hey look, a USB port!  How cool!

Our Patriot Subaru Genius explains all the features of both the interior and exterior of your new vehicle.

Our Patriot Subaru Genius explains all the features of both the interior and exterior of your new vehicle.




Subaru of America has reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that after examination of returned parts, it showed that some brake lines were susceptible to rust after several years of exposure to salt water,  common to areas where heavy salting is used in winter conditions.  Further testing revealed a gap in the shielding around the fuel tank which allowed the salty brine to seep in and corrode the area, which had the potential to compromise the line and allow brake fluid to escape.

Subaru will recall approximately 660,000 vehicles in 20 states that use road salt on a regular basis.  The vehicles involved are the 2009-13 Forester, the 2005-9 Legacy and Outback, the 2008-14 Impreza WRX/ WRX STi, and the 2008-11 Impreza.  The 20 states include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia — or in the District of Columbia.

No accidents or injuries have been reported or attributed to the potential corrosion.  Subaru, a unit of Japan’s Fuji Heavy Industries, Inc, has said that they will contact owners directly, and those customers can schedule service with local Subaru dealerships.  If a repair is necessary, it will be done free of charge, and if it had been repaired previously, the customer is entitled to reimbursement.   The service center will check for any corrosion and brake fluid leakage, and if none is found, an anti-corrosion wax will be applied.  If leakage is detected, the brake line will be replaced, and rustproofed with the anti-corrosion wax.

Subaru noted that if there was any brake fluid leakage, a warning light would turn on, alerting the driver.  The driver would not lose braking power, but the driver would notice a sluggish response and the car would need a longer distance to slow down or bring the car to a stop.  This could lead to an accident, so as in any recall, do not ignore it.  You may not have symptoms now, but don’t find out the hard way!