There used to be a time where Subaru would use automatic transmissions on its cars instead of CVTs. There also used to be a time where a Subaru recall meant under 200,000 cars. Such was the case in November 2002 when a defect in the automatic transmission parking rod was discovered. This meant if you almost never used the parking brake when you parked your Subaru, it just might have unexpectedly rolled away.
First off, I have to ask "Who doesn't use their parking brake? Are we seriously that lazy?" I used to think that setting the parking brake was mandatory until I began carpooling to school and viewed the driving habits of other parents. So I thought, not using the parking brake can't be that bad. But I still constantly used the parking brake, because that's what I was taught, and would be in trouble if I didn't set the parking brake on my mother's beloved Odyssey.
Even in my Jetta (MkV 2.0T Wolfsburg for any VW fanboys who might be reading this), which has the DSG, the salesman made special pains to ensure I set the parking brake every time I parked the car. Otherwise, the cogs or something might wear out and the transmission might need replacing. (I admit I did tune out at the technical bits during the explanation.)
But back to Subaru. To deal with the situation, Subaru mailed letters to all their owners imploring them to use the parking brake, something which should've been ingrained in driver's education from day one and to wait for the second letter, which would state when the parts would be available. The passive nature of this press release highlights no injuries have resulted from the defect, which greatly helps things for Subaru, unlike the situation that would result for Toyota years later.
So the takeaway from all this? Please put the parking brake on when you park, even on flat surfaces. You're doing your transmission an immense favor and limiting the stress placed on the components. Fixing automatic transmissions can get expensive. And we also learn Subarus can have problems other than head gasket issues.
Press release source here.