The rot has well and truly set in, with news another one of Australia’s favourite sedans, the Liberty — is about to buy the farm.

Subaru Australia has announced it will no longer take Liberty, if indeed there is another Liberty to come, as sales of traditional, four-door sedans continue to dry up.

Introduced back in 1989, Liberty was the car that cracked the Australian market for Subaru and went on to win not one, but two prestigious Wheels Car of the Year awards.

In recent years, however, it’s Subaru’s WRX boy racer that has been the centre of attention, but even the Rex has been steadily eclipsed by the rise and rise of the SUV.

In Subaru world, that means the Outback, Forester and more recent XV. Outback is in fact based on the Liberty.

People like SUVs which offer families more options and that means people buy them,  and when you’re in the business of making money — it’s all about giving people what they want.

Over a series of six generations, Aussies have bought more than 153,000 Libertys in Australia.

But, in the past two years, Subaru reveals Liberty has sold a combined total of 2441 cars, compared to the Outback which has notched up 13,844 conquests — it’s a pretty clear indication of market preferences.

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Subaru Australia boss, Christian Dinsdale, said Liberty had been a pivotal part of Subaru’s success.

“While customer preferences have moved on to other vehicles in our range, Liberty has played a hugely influential role in the brand’s growth and reputation for engineering, safety, durability and retained value,” he said.

“It was our first model with global appeal and moved the brand away from its utilitarian roots to becoming a respected automotive company.

“Not only has Liberty established a reputation as a great car, it also pioneered our early rally motorsport success story.

“The first turbocharged Libertys paved the way for the fantastic successes that followed with both Subaru Rally Team Australia and the Subaru World Rally Team.”

The writing was on the all of course, if you cared to look.

A seventh generation Liberty made its debut at the 2019 Chicago motor show on February 7, 2019, but 18 moths later it has failed to make an appearance on these shores.

Some industry observers believe Liberty lost its way, becoming too main stream and just too like the cars it is designed to compete with.

So, should you wish to purchase a Liberty before it disappears, you’ve probably got until early in the New Year to place an order.

That’s when Subaru says the final production run arrives.

The Liberty timeline

1989
First generation Liberty launches in Australia.

1991
10,000th Liberty sold in Australia and RS Turbo version launched. Winner: Wheels’ annual quality award and NRMA Best Medium Car award – the first of many motoring organisation titles.

1994
All Libertys get dual front airbags.

1995
Liberty wins Wheels Car of the Year.

1999
Liberty wagon wins Wheels Car of the Year.

2001
Liberty B4 reintroduced turbocharged technology to the range.

2004
New generation Liberty and Outback awarded the best ever five-star crash worthiness ratings in independent testing performed by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). Introduction of six cylinder 3.0 litre options, including the Liberty spec.B. An outstanding locally developed special edition, the Liberty GT tuned by STI, won accolades.

2005
Liberty 3.0R named Australia’s Best Luxury Car under $57,000, by Australia’s combined motoring organisations.

2006
Premium versions of Model Year 2007 Liberty and Outback feature the revolutionary SI-Drive system. Subaru Intelligent Drive offers the option of three different drive experiences in one.

2009
Liberty passed the 120,000 sales mark in Australia. Fifth generation Liberty launched and Liberty 3.6R Premium named Best Prestige Car in the combined motoring organisations Australia’s Best Cars awards.

2012
Subaru introduces the sophisticated EyeSight driver assist system on Liberty and Outback 3.6 Premium variants.

CHECKOUT: Liberty a reflection of personality

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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