Safety gear could be everywhere soon
EyeSight is close to becoming standard kit across the entire Subaru range, as the brand moves to further establish its safety credentials in the competitive Australian market.
EyeSight is Subaru’s suite of active safety technologies, and includes autonomous-emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and sway warning and pre-collision braking. It's already standard across the Levorg, automatic WRX, Liberty and Outback lines, and will be standard on the new Forester when it launches later this year.
Nonetheless, it’s likely Subaru will go a step further and offer it as standard across the entire range in the near future.
“We are pretty confident and believe that we have the widest range of that tech of any of our direct competitors in our marketplace, and over time we are going to improve that, and bring that safety technology throughout everything.”
Asked whether Subaru customers are actively seeking EyeSight, Christie said it’s only one pillar of the brand’s wider safety message.
“[They are] absolutely looking for it, customers and families that are looking for safe cars, and EyeSight is just one of our safety stories," he told us.
"The new driver monitoring system will be another step forward in that, things like reverse automatic braking, front vision monitoring, side vision monitoring, lane keep assist, all these technologies are starting to progress towards semi-autonomous driving and safer driving.”
Even so, Subaru America's boss recently told CarAdvice the brand won’t rush into autonomous driving like some other manufacturers, preferring to first perfect collision avoidance systems.
Meanwhile, Australia remains the best global market for Subaru in terms of market share – and the local arm has made use of its favourable position to push for greater local input, both in terms of engineering and design.
“We have a terrific relationship with Japan and with Subaru," Christie told us. "Now Canada is slightly bigger than us by about 1,000 cars [the market is twice the size], [but we have the] highest market share in the world – 4.4 per cent."
“We do a lot of testing in the local market with the product, we spend a lot of time with them in the future design studios, and product planning and a lot of support around marketing," he continued.
"We always get inside and have discussions but, at the end of the day, Subaru is the manufacturer and they bring in to market what they believe what is the right product.”
“There was no direct testing in Australia [for the new Foreter], but a lot of work down in Japan with engineers on our suspension settings in particular, which is something we work really closely with Japan for.
"We have what is called a ‘K.A.’ spec, and we are one of the only markets that gets its own specifications in the Subaru world.”
That unique Australian tune includes everything from the suspension setup to deal with our roads, to engine tuning, features and elements of the car.
Subaru Australia sold more than 52,000 cars locally last year, accounting for around five per cent of the brand's global production capacity.