Economy, Auto

Subaru Readies New Driving Platforms

Subaru Readies New Driving PlatformsSubaru Readies New Driving Platforms

Subaru has unveiled a next-generation vehicle platform it says will improve safety and driving performance while keeping the small Japanese automaker competitive through 2025.

The new architecture will underpin all the brand’s nameplates beginning with the redesigned Impreza small car arriving in the second half of this year. The Subaru Global Platform is designed to accommodate gasoline drivetrains in addition to traditional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric systems.

Details of the new technology were outlined by executives at the global headquarters of Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru’s parent company. The platform is a key pillar of Fuji Heavy’s plan to achieve worldwide sales of 1.1 million vehicles in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, Automotive News Europe reported.

“Starting with the car coming out this year, we will advance the next level, using the new Subaru Global Platform to provide Subaru with more safety and fun every year,” said Naoto Muto, executive vice president for global engineering.

The new platform should be able to underpin Subaru vehicles through 2025 with regular improvements, executives said.

Subaru also outlined new targets for autonomous driving, using the brand’s camera-based Eyesight safety system.

Next year, Subaru will introduce a new traffic jam assist function. It will allow the car to start and stop automatically in slow traffic and steer the car automatically around curves.

Subaru’s current system requires the driver to manually reengage acceleration once the car has come to a full stop. The existing technology also does not feature automatic steering.

By 2020, Subaru said it will introduce a semiautonomous driving function for highway driving. That system will allow automated lane changing and automated steering around curves. It will combine radar sensors and GPS mapping with Eyesight.

“The new platform will not only make Subaru cars safer and more fun to drive, but will also make the cars less costly to engineer,” said Tetsuo Onuki, vice president of global engineering.

Subaru will add production of the redesigned Impreza to its factory in Lafayette this year. That will boost annual production capacity there to 394,000 by the end of 2016 from 200,000 at the start of the year. Subaru already produces the Legacy sedan and Outback crossover in the US.

Subaru will also build a new three-row SUV at the plant starting in 2018. That vehicle, which will also be based on the new global platform, will replace the aging Tribeca.

Also in 2018, Subaru plans to begin selling its first plug-in hybrid.