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Bertera Subaru Celebrates Fifty Years

Perfect for New England, the Subaru AWD brand has seen many changes through the years

When the road beckons, the Subaru family of vehicles has options for almost any road trip imaginable. The Subaru line of all-wheel drive automobiles has been available in our area since 1973. This year marks Bertera Subaru’s fiftieth year in business.

The Subaru brand has grown in popularity over the years, according to Bertera Auto Group president Michael Bertera. The dealer group brought Subarus to West Springfield in response to the gas crisis of the early 1970s. Mike’s father, Aldo Bertera, and his uncle, Robert Bertera, saw Subaru as a potential solution to the problems created by the gas crisis. “They took a chance in 1973,” says Mike. “They applied to become a dealer and were accepted.”

At the time, the business that later became Bertera Auto Group was known as Hilltop Motors, which was a Texaco station and used car dealership located at what is now the Dunkin’ on Westfield Street. The Subaru dealership went by the name Superior Subaru.

“Smaller imports did well because they were better on gas,” says Mike, adding that Subaru is particularly fitting for New England roads because the entire vehicle line is all-wheel drive. Subarus were originally available as either a front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, but went to full AWD-only many years ago.

“All-wheel drive was a big deal back then,” notes Mike. “That’s always been what Subarus have been known for.” The brand’s longevity, reliability, and good gas mileage have made Subaru a perennial favorite with New England drivers.

Bertera has seen some major changes since the original Superior Subaru opened its doors. The dealership moved to Riverdale Street in 1980. The brand’s popularity really took off nationally around 2008, when Subaru’s marketing division established the Love Promise campaign, which has raised and donated money every year to charitable organizations.

After all these years, Love Promise is still going strong. Through its Share the Love program, Subaru has donated more than $250 million to charities like the ASPCA, Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels, and the National Park Foundation. Here in West Springfield, Bertera supports local charitable groups through the West Springfield Rotary, where Mike Bertera is an active member who has served in various leadership roles.

Just in time for its 50th anniversary, Bertera Subaru is constructing a new facility to house its sales and service departments. Located just south of its current location at 657 Riverdale Street, the new home for Bertera Subaru will open its doors in late spring this year. The timing coordinates nicely with the introduction of three major model overhauls: the Outback, Forester, and Impreza vehicles are all getting significant updates for the 2024 model year.

From the compact Impreza to the seven-passenger Ascent SUV, Subaru has a model for every need. Subaru now offers the Solterra, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle. The Solterra is a zero-emissions automobile that requires no gas and no oil changes, making its debut in the West Springfield dealership this January.

Visit berterasubaru.com or call its sales number at 413.344.2731 to learn more.

Our road trip suggestions: Miami to Key West; Western Massachusetts to Gettysburg/Amish Country; Utah's National Parks; Montana's Beartooth Loop; California Highway 1; and Coastal Maine. Or just get on Route 20 West and keep going!

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