The iconic Subaru Impreza, which rose to stardom on the stages of the World Rally Championship, is to become consigned to the history books – in the UK at least – with the Japanese manufacturer announcing it is not to bring a model to these shores.

With a strong UK fanbase, the demise of the Impreza, which in its current guise is marketed simply as the WRX, is sure to upset some, but the model has suffered dwindling sales in recent years.

It has faced increasing competition in recent years from sports cars and even hot hatchbacks, which are not only as quick, but cleaner, more efficient and offer greater luxury and on-board technology.

Speaking to Autocar magazine, Subaru UK chief Paul Tunnicliffe said: “Things are now in a different place. That market is not as big as it used to be. The EC has strict CO2 targets, and unless you’re selling lots of hybrids or electric cars, a product like WRX STI is hard to justify.”

The UK’s CO2 based vehicle tax system, as well as increased insurance costs have also been factors in the decline in sales of the four-wheel-drive performance legend.

Subaru is facing strict CO2 emissions regulations and has to average 164.6g/km by 2015. The current WRX STI produces a whopping 243g/km of CO2 and would seriously compromise the company’s hopes of meeting its target.

To pour salt on the wounds of UK Subaru fans, images have emerged of an all-new model undergoing track testing. Wearing the oversized rear spoiler and gaping bonnet vent that has characterised the model line since its inception, its sale will be limited to American and Asian markets.

Subaru in the UK will instead focus on its off-road 4×4 products such as the Forester and XV crossover.

If you’re disheartened at the news of the Impreza’s demise, you can always bag yourself a used example here.