Posted Monday, April 18, 2022 at 10:02pm

What is a product planner? 7 Questions for Subaru’s Michael Redic

The Subaru Forester has changed quite a bit since its earliest days when the idea of a special variant meant offering the sport-tuned XT or, in other markets, the Forester STi. Times have obviously changed as the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness shows. It’s all about getting muddier and going further off-road than other Foresters rather than carving canyons quicker.

While such a pivot over time may be painful for high-octane car enthusiasts, there are very good reasons for these changes: customers. Remember, people actually buy cars. And to find out what customers want and don’t want, car companies need product planners like Michael Redic. One of three car line planning managers at Subaru, he was responsible for the Forester Wilderness as well as the recent mid-cycle update for the Subaru Crosstrek that saw it (finally!) get a more powerful engine option.

He’s also a really interesting guy whose journey to product planning should be an inspiration to anyone looking to find a role in the automotive industry, but who isn’t entirely sure what they can do and how they can go about doing it. This conversation has been condensed and edited.