Next-gen platform will underpin all Subaru models except BRZ

Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru, has taken a bold step towards the future of its auto brand by revealing the Subaru Global platform, the automaker’s new architecture that will underpin the entirety of Subaru’s model lineup beginning with the 2017 Impreza. The only vehicle that will not use this new platform will be the next-generation Subaru BRZ.

Other than the BRZ, which shares little with other Subarus, the new platform is expected to become the foundation of the automaker’s next-generation models. It’s got a host of notable features that sets up the future of Subaru models quite nicely. For instance, the platform will be fully compatible with a range of different powertrain types, including traditional gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and even hydrogen fuel cell.

It’s also promising improved levels of safety that Subaru expects will be one of the key characteristics for all of the models that will use this platform. Rigidity is expected to improve by as much as 100 percent compared to what current Subaru models have. This improvement lines up future models with a more balanced platform that should improve the overall ride and comfort. There are also hints to adapting future technology, which sets the automaker up nicely for future tech items like the EyeSight electronic driver aids.

The 2017 Subaru Impreza will get first dibs on the new Subaru Global platform. The model is scheduled to be launched later this year. That should give everyone an early look on what the new architecture is all about and just as important, what it can do for Subaru’s vehicle program for the next decade.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

Subaru Unveils Next-Generation Global Architecture High Resolution Drivetrain
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For all the talk of electrification and autonomous driving, automakers still rely on platforms to serve as the foundation of their vehicles. Without these architectures, companies have nothing to build their cars on. That’s why platforms remain one of the most important parts of any car. That’s also why Subaru decided to get a jump on the proceedings and launch its new Global platform, which it plans to use until 2025.

The announcement itself may get the headlines today, but more important is what the platform can actually do for Subaru moving forward as part of a bigger puzzle for the company. See, it’s not just the platform itself that will be the pillars of the Subarus of the future. It will go hand-in-hand with some of the company’s new tech developments, including horizontally-opposed engines, symmetrical all-wheel-drive systems, vehicle electrification, and electronic driver aids like the aforementioned EyeSight system. All of these will have important parts to play in shaping the company’s next-generation lineup.

I’m not the type to be easily swayed by promises of bigger and better things, especially when it comes to the affairs of entire lineups. But Subaru is making a concerted effort in laying the groundwork for what we can expect out of the Japanese automaker in the next 10 years. That’s got me a little curious, if not a bit excited on what the future holds for Subaru.

This new platform is the start of that puzzle-building. Once the other pieces are developed and launched, we’re all going to get a clearer picture of the company’s next-generation plans. Hopefully, that picture is completed sooner than later.

2017 Subaru Impreza

Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Impreza here.

Press Release

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, has unveiled an overview of the Subaru Global Platform, which is currently under development as the architecture to be used for all the Company’s next-generation vehicles.

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The Subaru Global Platform is part of the six initiatives to enhance the Subaru brand described in the Company’s mid-term management vision, “Prominence 2020,” announced in 2014. Together with the horizontally-opposed engines, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD), and EyeSight that represent Subaru’s core technologies, the new platform will constitute the basic foundation of the next generation of Subaru vehicles.

Marking the launch of the new concept, FHI President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said, “The Subaru Global Platform lifts Subaru’s automotive technology to new heights, and marks the next step in the evolution of “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind,” the value that Subaru offers to its customers. This new platform represents the culmination of the know-how we have developed over many years, and we are confident that it will allow us to produce vehicles that live up to our proud traditions and meet the high expectations customers have of Subaru. We continue to work on designing ever-more attractive vehicles that offer the customer both enjoyment and peace of mind.”

Main Features of Subaru Global Platform

The next-generation platform is designed with the future in mind, and looks ahead to 2025. The main features include:
? The biggest overall performance evolution in Subaru’s history
1. Emotionally engaging “Dynamic feel” that goes beyond high performance
2. The world’s highest levels of safety
? Single design concept for development of all models, adaptable to electrification in the future
? The Biggest Overall Performance Evolution in Subaru’s History
1. Emotionally engaging “Dynamic feel” that goes beyond high performance
The new platform will make possible a new type of driving experience, appealing directly to the senses and offering unparalleled smoothness and comfort—all backed up by excellent performance and specifications. Specifically, the new platform will further refine Subaru’s dynamic feel in the following areas: (1) straight line stability, (2) noise and vibration suppression, and (3) comfort.
(1) Straight line stability
The new platform dramatically increases rigidity throughout the body and chassis (a 70% to 100% increase over present models) and incorporates substantial improvements to the suspension system and achieve a lower center of gravity, bringing about highly responsive steering that allows drivers to control the vehicle precisely as they want. The eradication of unnecessary movement in handling makes the car seem to grip the road surface, achieving a traveling performance that looks ahead to the need for enhanced straight line stability in the autonomous vehicles of the future.
(2) Noise and vibration suppression
Optimized frame structure and stronger joints between parts allow the new platform to improve overall torsional rigidity by 70% over present models. This distributes the resonance and distortion throughout the body, greatly reducing vibrations from the steering wheel, floor, and seats. It achieves a quietness that goes beyond vehicle class.

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(3) Comfort
The new platform increases the rigidity of the suspension mounting, improving the absorption of the suspension without warping the body of the car, and providing a smooth and comfortable drive whatever the irregularities in the road surface. By mounting the rear stabilizer directly to the body, the new platform reduces the body roll of the vehicle by 50% compared to present models.

2?The world’s highest levels of safety
Active safety
The new platform achieves a center of gravity that is 5 mm lower than present models. Together with the major improvements in rigidity and the evolution of the suspension system, this lower center of gravity makes possible a more stable driving experience than ever before, and offers outstanding danger avoidance capabilities on a level with a high-performance sports car.
Passive safety
Thanks to a frame structure that enables more efficient energy absorption in the event of collision and the enhanced body rigidity resulting from the increased use of high-tensile steel plates including materials formed by the hot press method, impact energy absorption is improved by 40% over present models. The platform anticipates further improvements in strength and new materials and has the potential to continue to offer the world’s highest levels of collision safety even in 2025.

? Single Design Concept for Development of All Models, Adaptable to Electrification in the Future

The new platform will offer a single unified design concept for all Subaru models. Planning the main specifications of all vehicle types at one time and flexibly adjusting these basic specifications to match with the requirements of different models will strengthen the entire Subaru lineup while still allowing the Company to develop models that take advantage of each model’s strengths.
The new concept allows one design concept to be adapted not only to gasoline engines but also to hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, and other types of alternative power units for which demand will increase further.
Development based on a single design concept makes it possible to use limited development personnel and facilities efficiently to develop a diverse range of models and to direct the resulting savings into areas that can make our products more competitive.
It will also become possible to produce platform components for multiple models in the same one production facility, rather than manufacturing them in different factories as has been the case in the past. This will increase production efficiency at Subaru’s factories and at our partner companies. The new unified design concept will also make it easier for our two factories in Japan and the Subaru of Indiana Automotive plant in the United States to carry out bridge production of multiple different models on a single line, making our global production system more flexible.

The Subaru Global Platform that offers these benefits will be used in the development of all Subaru vehicles from now on, beginning with the next-generation Impreza, due to hit the market in 2016.

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FHI remains true to its management philosophy—to become “a compelling company with a strong market presence” on the basis of “customer-first” policy. The Company will continue to pursue engineering excellence and offer its customers “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind” to achieve FHI/Subaru distinctive presence.

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