Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. has revealed the modular architecture that will underpin all future models starting from 2016 — models the company says have the potential to be “the world’s safest”.
First cab off the proverbial rank will be the all-new Impreza hatch and sedan (read more here and here) and the XV crossover derivative, followed by the next Forester as previewed by last year's Viziv concept.
The Subaru Global Platform, as it is called, is essentially the Subaru version of Volkswagen’s ubiquitous MQB toolkit, BMW’s UKL platform, or Volvo’s Scalable architecture, to name just three others.
By using modular vehicle platforms, meaning platforms of different size but with significant uniformity of core parts, car companies can save vast sums of money by reducing complexity.
Subaru says its next-generation global platform has been designed with three main features in mind: to underpin the most dynamic driving abilities in company history, to achieve “the world’s highest levels of safety”, and to accommodate electrification.
Specifically, the new platform is designed to refine Subaru’s dynamic feel in the areas of straight line stability, noise and vibration suppression, and comfort.
The new platform offers between 70 and 100 per cent greater body and chassis rigidity, as well as more rigid suspension mountings. It also yields a lower centre of gravity, improving dynamic performance, and improves straight-ahead stability and thereby “looks ahead…. to the autonomous vehicles of the future”.
On the safety front, the new platform offers a frame structure with more efficient absorption (up about 40 per cent).
“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,” the company boldly asserts.
It’s good to have stretch targets.
Finally, the common architecture allows Subaru to have a “unified design concept”, ergo save a bunch of money through improved efficiency. This means that, as a small brand, it can invest elsewhere, investing in more models and greater levels of technology.
The new concept allows one design concept to be adapted not only to petrol/diesel engines but also to hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, and “other types of alternative power units” for which demand will increase exponentially.
The Subaru Global Platform is part of 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 (and which are going nowhere), the new platform will constitute the basic foundation of the next generation of Subaru vehicles.
Marking the launch of the new concept, president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said:
“The Subaru Global Platform lifts Subaru’s automotive technology to new heights.
“…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.”