CAMDEN - Subaru of America has announced it's pulled the plug, at least temporarily on production of WRX STI performance vehicles.
But the brand might return — with a plug — as an electric vehicle.
"As the automotive marketplace continues to move towards electrification, Subaru is focused on how our future sports and performance cars should evolve to meet the needs of the changing marketplace," the Camden firm said in a statement Friday.
It also cited the impact of "regulations and requirements" for greenhouse gases, zero-emission vehicles and the firm's corporate average fuel economy.
Subaru said it's "exploring opportunities for the next generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification."
"In the meantime, a next generation internal combustion engine WRX STI will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform," it said.
Subaru in September 2021 said the new platform for the 2022 WRX would include a 271-horsepower, 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer engine.
The 2022 WRX is expected to have fuel economy of 19 mpg in city driving and 25 miles on the highway, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Subaru on Friday said its WRX STI and the STI brand "represent the zenith of Subaru's performance vehicles exemplifying Subaru's unique DNA and rally heritage."
"As we look to the future, we also look forward to incorporating the essence of STI into our next generation of vehicles," it said.
The WRX/STI models are a niche product for Subaru, with 27,141 vehicles sold last year.
In contrast, Subaru had total sales of 583,810 vehicles in 2021, led by about 177,000 Foresters, 163,000 Outbacks and 119,000 Crosstreks.
Subaru has previously announced plans to offer its first electric vehicle this year. That vehicle, the Solterra, is being produced as a joint venture between Subaru and Toyota.
Jim Walsh covers public safety, economic development and other beats for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.
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This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: Subaru says electric an option for WRX STI vehicles