National Image Program for Subaru of America

Location: More than 300 locations across US
Client: National Image Program for Subaru of America

"FH Design was great to work with throughout the entire process and open to our ideas! I believe this not to be the case with other manufacturers who believe in more of the “cookie cutter” approach! This was very appreciated and smart on both Subaru of America (SOA) and FH Design’s part. Dealerships are local to their cities, geography, and communities, and individualization while incorporating Subaru’s facility themes are important."

The Scope

Dean Bakkum worked closely with Subaru of America (SOA) to develop their full national image program. FH Design merged with the company Infrastructure in 2008 and has since become Subaru’s sole service provider for the following services:

  • Design Intent – evaluate and create site-specific design concepts for Subaru retailers, including drawings, selection of finishes and materials, and furniture recommendations. Everything is tailored to meet each retail facility’s needs and reflect their geographic area, while also meeting Subaru’s national image criteria.
  • Design Review – evaluate each retailer’s proposed design thoroughly to ensure consistency with Subaru’s image criteria

The Challenges

  • Each retailer wants a unique aesthetic based on their location, so the challenge is conveying the retailer’s unique personality and local attributes within Subaru’s building standards and timeline. This completely informs the exterior orientation and interior spaces.

The Resolution

We collaborate closely with each retailer on the front end to understand their needs and develop a shared vision for the desired aesthetic while also meeting Subaru’s requirements. This often means making slight modifications to materials to conform with local zoning ordinances, using historical overlays, or being sensitive to local plant life and vegetation. Our most important job is thinking outside of the box while staying within Subaru’s brand standards so that everyone is pleased with the results.


How the FH Design Process Benefited the Client

We provide the retailers with the program information they need, simplify the process so it’s approachable and pleasant, and ask the right questions on the front end to best understand each client and project.

In doing so, we become a valuable, one-stop resource to the retailers while also representing Subaru’s initiatives. Essentially, we balance two clients – the retailer and Subaru – seamlessly throughout each project so that everything stays on brand, within budget, and on schedule.

FH Design has also developed a proprietary project management system to aid communication and provide transparency between the owner, retailers, and designers. All project communications including documents, meeting notes, and emails are accessible through this system, providing a single source to access information and track progress. The system is customizable for clients and projects and is valuable to the process.



Overall Outcome

“Dean advocated for us and helped us adapt our unique way of doing business to Subaru’s official requirements. This was an expensive, complicated project, and we leaned on Dean to help us spend our money wisely to construct a facility of great beauty and function.”

Jeff Morrill, Owner, Planet Subaru, Retailer

"The greatest strength FH Design brought to our project was partnership. FH Design was great to work with throughout the entire process and open to our ideas! We now have one of the most beautiful dealerships in the country and are representing the brand in the spirit intended by Subaru of America and FH Design!"

Rocky DiChristofano, Owner, Tucson Subaru, Retailer

See Our Next Success.