Subaru's office in Germany filed a trademark in that country for the term and logo "STe." The automaker submitted the paperwork on March 13, 2023, and the patent and trademark office began processing the application on March 23.
The "STe" name might immediately make you think this is somehow related to the brand's currently defunct STI performance badge. However, let's not jump to any conclusions.
Gallery: Subaru STI E-RA Concept
First, as of this story's publication, Motor1.com has not found evidence of Subaru applying for a similar trademark in other regions, including the rest of Europe, Australia, Japan, and the United States.
With this detail in mind, we can't yet rule out the "STe" trademark filing being purely for Germany. If that's the case, it wouldn't make sense for this to be an STI replacement since the company wouldn't register something with international interest for just one country.
In March 2022, Subaru announced that it was not going to make an STI version of the new WRX. The automaker's statement said: "Subaru Corporation is exploring opportunities for the next-generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification."
In a later report, Subaru's Corporate Communications Director in the US Dominick Infante indicated that rapidly changing regulations around the world were the primary reason for the company's decision to forego a new Impreza WRX STI model.
In 2022, Subaru introduced the STI E-RA Concept as an EV with an electric motor powering each wheel. The total power output is 1,073 bhp. It also has a 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack.
At the time, Subaru said it planned to lap the STI E-RA (pictured in the gallery above) around the Nürburgring in 2023. Given that the famous course is in Germany, it's somewhat possible that the trademark filing from the automaker's office there could be related to this intention.
Subaru plans to offer several EVs in the US by 2025, including building some of them in-house. The Solterra is the only electric model currently available in the country. "When we look at the US market situation, we will need to offer several models in our EV lineup. We have shifted our weight toward that in our development," said senior vice president of corporate planning Tomoaki Emori.