Subaru: US get diesel before hybrid
Japanese automaker works with partner Toyota on gasoline-electric solution
Europe gets diesels next year.
US dealers will have to wait even longer.
“There are many opinions. But currently, the voices calling for diesels are stronger than the voices for hybrids,” Ikuo Mori, president of Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, told Automotive News Europe in an October 2 interview.
The engine was developed in-house.
The Outback and Legacy will be the first models to get the engine. The diesel versions of the large-segment cars will debut at the 2008 Geneva auto show, a Subaru spokeswomen said.
There is no immediate timeline for a US launch of the diesel. US sales likely will begin within five years.
Inside Toyota’s hybrid
Getting access to Toyota’s hybrid program was one of the key payoffs from the partnership between the two Japanese companies, says Mori.
Fuji Heavy engineers are working with Toyota Motor to develop Subaru’s hybrid system.
“We agreed with Toyota to utilize the Toyota system in developing our own hybrid technology,” Mori said. “Fundamentally speaking, we can’t just plunk Toyota’s system into our own vehicles. We need to develop something that is adjusted to our products.”
Aiming for 2010
Mori declined to give a timeline for Subaru’s first hybrid vehicle. But he said it would likely come only when lithium-ion battery technology is perfected. General Motors and several other automakers are aiming for 2010.
Subaru delayed its solo hybrid program because it didn’t have the resources to do the job alone.
Getting access to Toyota’s advanced environmentally friendly technologies was one reason for the partnership between the companies, Mori said.
Toyota bought an 8.7 percent stake in Subaruin 2005. The two currently assemble vehicles in a Lafayette, Indiana, plant.
Advanced water-based painting technology is among other lessons learned from Toyota.
Toyota outfitted its portion of the Indiana plant with a water-based painting system. Subaru continues to use oil-based paint for Subaru vehicles produced there. Understanding Toyota’s paint system will make it easier for Subaru to change to a water-based system, he said.
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