Subaru has revealed details of a new modular platform that will underpin future models beginning as early as 2016.
According to industry paper Automotive News, the new architecture will first appear with the next-generation Impreza, suggesting a late 2016 debut is likely.
SUVs will form a major focus for the brand going forward, as part of a new business strategy developed to boost global sales from 825,000 in 2013 to 1.1 million per year by 2020.
Those are relatively low ambitions - Toyota moved more than 10 million vehicles in 2013 - but Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) says its new ‘Prominence 2020’ plan is focused more on quality and safety than overall size.
"In the new management vision 'Prominence 2020', FHI, as a small-sized automaker, has set its corporate vision for 2020 as “not big in size, but a high-quality company with distinctive strengths,” the company said in a statement.
“To achieve this goal, the company will focus on two activities -’enhancing the Subaru brand’ and ‘building a strong business structure’ - through which it will further pursue added-value business and increase tolerance for changes in the business environment."
The company aims to become the number-one carmaker for overall safety (even now Subaru boasts a five-star ANCAP safety rating across its Australian line-up), while its future design direction will continue to focus on a ‘Dynamic & Solid’ philosophy.
Although not confirmed for production, we can likely expect the recent Viziv concepts to represent the next evolution of Subaru’s familiar styling language.
On the technology front, Subaru will add direct-injection to all of its engines, along with a gradual introduction of cylinder deactivation for improved efficiency.
A new boxer engine is also planned, although no technical or launch timing details were offered.
New hybrid options will appear in the lead-up to 2020, suggesting that the Viziv concept’s diesel-electric all-wheel-drive system could soon see a production application.
Among those hybrid models will be a new plug-in offering, based on Toyota technology. This model, although not identified, will appear by 2018 when new zero-emissions regulations take effect in the United States.
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