The new platform aims to cut costs while improving safety and dynamics. Executives repeatedly said they benchmarked top European brands and compared the new platform's high-speed emergency evasive handling to that of German sports cars.
Dubbed the Subaru Global Platform, it will underpin all the brand's nameplates. It can accommodate gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric drivetrains.
Subaru expects to save money because it will be possible to produce components for multiple models at any one factory. This will enable Subaru to shift production among factories in the U.S. and Japan quickly to adjust to changing demand.
Subaru can also focus its limited personnel and engineering resources on variations of one platform.
The new platform should be able to underpin Subaru vehicles through 2025 with regular improvements, executives said.
Subaru aims to channel savings into better performance, said Tetsuo Onuki, vice president of global engineering. The goal is a better product without raising sticker prices, he said.
Among the improvements:
- Body rigidity improves 70 to 100 percent.
- Center of gravity is lowered for better handling.
- Collision impact absorption improves 40 percent.
- Noise and vibration is reduced 15 percent.
"Starting with the car coming out this year, we will advance to 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.
More dynamic styling is part of the improvement.
The new looks were first explored in the Viziv 2 Concept in 2014 and fleshed out in the Viziv Future Concept crossover and Impreza Concept shown in October at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The design language beefs up the stance and body volume to imbue the cars with a more rugged, sporty aura. The front fascia is more chiseled; the fender flares are more muscular.