“It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru” is more than just an advertising tagline – it’s a philosophy for the Japanese car company. And over at Fortune Magazine, the staff chose to delve in, research and determine what exactly it is that makes a Subaru, a Subaru.
After nearly 45 years in the U.S. market, Subaru of America is currently celebrating a number of achievements. Most notably, Subaru became the only manufacturer with an entire product line of vehicles awarded “top safety picks” by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
Safety has often been a hallmark of Subaru, and until the introduction of the BRZ sports coupe it was almost common knowledge that every Subaru came standard with the security and safety of all-wheel-drive. Today all-wheel-drive continues to come standard on all Subaru Legacy, Impreza, Forester, Outback and XV Crosstrek models. The BRZ forgoes this system in order to appeal to enthusiasts who prefer that power be sent exclusively to the rear wheels.
Subaru’s achievements have not gone unnoticed by the press, and as Fortune Magazine points out “Consumer Reports rates Subaru above Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and every other manufacturer in performance, comfort, utility, and reliability, and says the company makes the best cars in America. ALG (formerly Automotive Lease Guide), the industry’s arbiter of residual value and used-car prices, named Subaru the leader in retained value among mainstream brands.”
Even more importantly, consumer demand for Subaru vehicles continues to increase. While Fortune Magazine notes that, “By itself, the Toyota Camry outsells the entire Subaru lineup,” the magazine also points out that “Subaru is currently running with a 45-day supply, compared with the 65 days that are considered optimal in the auto industry.”
Such a short supply can be attributed to both continued growth by the company within the automotive industry, as well as an intelligent business strategy by corporate bigwigs within Subaru of America.
One part of this strategy is for the automaker to increase U.S. sales to 350,000 units per year by 2016; a goal that seems attainable for the company given the success of the redesigned Subaru Impreza. As Fortune Magazine states: “Sales [of the new Impreza] have doubled from a year ago, and dealers have less than a two-week supply.”
Subaru has come a long way since it first came to the U.S. in 1968 and sold the diminutive 360 microcar. Yet, along the way the company has kept to a core philosphy of selling cars that were quirky, fuel efficient, reliable and fun. Though the company is continuing to expand, Subaru’s relatively dimunitive marketshare of only slightly more than 2% of the automotive market means that the company hasn’t let global domination take over its corporate values.
Subaru isn’t trying to become the next General Motors or Toyota (though Toyota does own 16.5% of Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries). Rather than putting sales first Subaru is instead putting the customer first. This philosophy is in many ways what makes a Subaru, a Subaru. To read even more about what makes a Subaru, a Subaru, and to learn more about the company’s history visit fortunemagazine.com.
Subaru has released the first official photos of the all-new 2014 Forester crossover SUV, which will make its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new Forester combines a bolder profile than before while offering a roomier interior with virtually the same footprint as the previous model.
The fourth generation of Subaru’s popular Forester will offer a new 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged BOXER® engine producing 250 horsepower. The standard naturally aspirated 2.5-liter BOXER engine debuted in the outgoing Forestermodel. Fuel economy will be higher across the line with the debut of a new six-speed manual transmission and available Lineartronic® continuously variable transmissions (CVT).
The all-new five-passenger 2014 Forester preserves the optimal blend of SUV capability and car-like ride and handling that have made the Forester one of the Subaru brand’s best-selling models for the past 15 years. Refined (or New) suspension system delivers agile handling and a highly compliant ride quality. Generous 8.7 inches ofground clearance enhances off-pavement driving capability.
The 2014 Forester will offer an exceptionally roomy interior, featuring increased rear seat legroom, and an enlarged cargo area. In-demand infotainment features will be offered, including smartphone integration, navigation, rear view camera, and harman/kardon® premium audio amplifier and speakers.
Basic Vehicle Specifications
|Engine types and output||2.5-liter 4-cylinder BOXER, naturally aspirated170 hp @ 5,800 rpm 174 lb.-ft. peak torque @ 4,100 rpm2.0-liter 4-cylinder BOXER, direct fuel injection, turbocharging, intercooler
250 hp @ 5,600 rpm* 258 lb.-ft. peak torque @ 2,000-4,800 rpm
|Transmission||2.5-liter models: 6-speed manual or Lineartronic CVT2.0-liter turbo: high-torque CVT with 6-speed and 8-speed manual modes and Hill Descent Control|
|Drivetrain||Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive standard for all models|
|Vehicle length||180.9 in.|
|Vehicle height||68.2 in (with roof rails)|
|Vehicle width||70.7 in.|
|Wheels/tires||2.5-liter: 17 x 7 in. aluminum alloy with 225/60 R17 all-season2.0-liter turbo: 18 x 7 in. aluminum alloy with 225/55 R18 all-season|
* With premium grade gasoline
Subaru today announced that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has recognized the all-new 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek as a 2012 TOP SAFETY PICK. Subaru remains the only manufacturer with 2012 IIHS Top Safety Picks for all models.
The all-new XV Crosstrek earned a “good” rating – the top rank – in the moderate overlap frontal, side, rollover and rear impact evaluations.
“The XV Crosstrek brings Subaru all-wheel drive and crossover technology into the small CUV segment,” said Thomas J. Doll, executive vice president and COO, Subaru of America, Inc. “Our buyers know that Subaru means safety and adding XV Crosstrek to our 100% list of IIHS Top Safety Picks is proof of that.”
The TOP SAFETY PICK recognizes vehicles that, in IIHS testing, do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rear, and now rollover crashes based on ‘good’ ratings in each category. The IIHS ranks in terms of Good, Acceptable, Marginal and Poor, with ‘good’ as the top rank possible in Institute tests. Winners also must have electronic stability control.
“For three years running, Subaru is the only automotive manufacturer with the distinction of earning IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK awards for every model it builds,” said Institute president Adrian Lund. “It’s tough to win, and we commend Subaru for making safety a top priority.”
There are many reasons that the newest brand and store in the LAcarGUY family is Subaru. The companies focus on the environment, the outdoor lifestyle, and giving back to the community all sync up with LAcarGUY’s values. On top of this Subaru is one of the fastest growing brands in the United States. During the downturn in the economy, and the terrible tsunami that devastated Japan, Subaru’s sales continued to grow, even as others fell off.
Subaru is like that band you’ve loved for so many years and you are baffled as to why they aren’t on everyones radar, they ARE that overnight success 30 years in the making! A combination of durability, dependability and value, along with a fresh new lineup of vehicles are just some of the reasons more and more people are discovering Subaru for the first time.
With September’s sales numbers just in Subaru’s sales year to date are up 25% over 201, year to date, and compared to September 2011, September 2012 saw a 32% increase in sales!
As we said, with newly refreshed models like the Outback, Legacy and Impreza, and the new XV Crosstrek just arriving in our showroom, and of course the highly acclaimed BRZ, it’s easy to see, with the strongest lineup in Subaru’s history, why more and more people are discovering the brand for the first time.
So many other manufactures now tout the availability of all wheel drive, like it’s something that was never available for vehicles other than trucks and large SUV’s, it is something Subaru has been offering across the product line for well over 20+ years! These years of experience are why Subaru has the most refined all wheel drive system in the industry.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience Subaru, we encourage you to come in for a test drive and see for yourself why your next car should be a Subaru, from Subaru Pacific!
Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA), home of North American Subaru production, was recently recognized as the first car manufacturing plant in the U.S. to achieve ISO 50001 certification; this internationally recognized accreditation was presented to SIA by DEKRA Certification, Inc., a company that provides professional certification in the automotive industry, at a recent gathering.
Launched in 2011, ISO 50001 outlines the internationally recognized requirements for energy management systems (EnMS). The standard provides organizations with management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs, and improve energy performance.
“(The certification) is a culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication,” said Thomas Easterday, SIA’s executive vice president. “Over the years, Subaru has been well-known to be a leader. Right now, we’re taking an even bigger step.”
The SIA team spent six months monitoring energy consumption data in order to figure out how to improve its current processes to gear up for an audit by DEKRA Certification Inc.
SIA’s ISO 50001 Certification demonstrates the company’s commitment to continual improvement in the area of energy conservation and its environmental leadership in the automotive industry. SIA was also the first U.S. car manufacturing plant to achieve the ISO 9001 Quality Management Certification and the first to achieve the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification.
Auditors who worked with SIA plant managers to collect the data said SIA’s commitment to saving energy is high compared with other large companies they have visited, Salle said. Auditors noticed a particular attention to energy conservation in Subaru SIA’s painting and trimming processes, which account for more than 40 percent of the plant’s total energy consumption.
“The auditors noticed a clear commitment to energy consumption that was very robust,” Salle said. “They don’t casually make that kind of comment.” Auditors will return to SIA at least once a year to make sure the plant is living up to the certification’s standards by testing random processes.
Throughout this week’s newscasts, NBC4 and Subaru’s LAX Zone have teamed up to support LA Animal Services Adoption Program. Viewers simply have to logon to Facebook and ‘Like’ NBCLA.com and $1 will be donated for every new ‘Like’ up to $10,000. Subaru will match those donations up to $10,000 for a potential total of $20,000 going to the worthy cause.
Subaru Pacific recently hosted a preview event for the all new BRZ. The BRZ is the first rear wheel drive car from Subaru, and one which is designed from the start to be an enthusiasts sports car. While the BRZ won’t be available for sale for a few weeks, Subaru Pacific gave enthusiasts a chance to get an advanced look at the car, sit behind the wheel, and hang out with other Subaru enthusiasts.
More than just the BRZ, we had a DJ spinning, an ice cream station for the kids, and we raffled off an iZip electric bike!
Have a look at our Flickr page for all the photos from the event, and some of the videos from the event as well. Make sure you are following us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to make sure you know when the BRZ is ready for delivery!
Extremely limited in quantity and there has been great interest so Subaru Pacific is now taking pre-orders on the 2013 Subaru BRZ. The 2013 Subaru BRZ Sports Coupe is a unique vehicle as it is the first and only mass-produced front-mounted, horizontally-opposed BOXER engine, rear-wheel drive sports car in the world. Subaru engineers designed the vehicle to be a pure sports car by keeping the weight to a minimum and giving it a super-low center of gravity thereby increasing steering precision.
Keep an eye on Subaru Pacific as the new 2013 Subaru BRZ will most likely land this summer. Be the first in the South Bay area to own the new BRZ. Fill out the order and information form today! For more information about the 2013 Subaru BRZ at Subaru Pacific, visit our dedicated BRZ page.
Car enthusiast are much like audiophiles, the debate always rages on which is better, the way things were, tube amps and vinyl or the latest digital processing and 24/96 recordings. Gear heads debate manual transmissions and traction control with your right foot versus the latest DSG’s and active driver aides.
While in the automotive world all the latest technology might enable you to get around a racetrack faster, the question is, are you having as much fun doing it? When the computer is making a majority of the decisions, is the driver as engaged? The Subaru BR-Z will answer that question!
With the new Subaru BRZ it’s back to basics where the DRIVER is the most important thing. Pure driving enjoyment is at the core of this sports car. Rear wheel drive, manual transmission, tires that allow you to truly feel whats going on with the road through the steering wheel, nothing gets in the way of being one with the car and the driving experience.
Powering the BRZ is a 2 liter Boxer four cylinder producing 200 horsepower! That’s 200 naturally aspirated horsepower, no turbos, no superchargers, just pure mechanical power, and 100 horsepower per liter is usually something found only on exotic sports cars, not something that costs $26,000!
It’s a brand new car from scratch, which is a rare thing these days. The product is a result of the collaboration between Subaru and Toyota. As suspected, both companies have had specific tasks within this joint project. Toyota has been responsible for the design and has lent its direct injection technology to the engine. Subaru has done pretty much everything else. This is good news as we know Subaru can build great cars.
The engine is mounted so low that Subaru believes it has a lower center of gravity than the Ferrari 458. A low engine is not only great for handling, but it also means that the driver can be seated lower. The driver’s seat is definitely the place to be. Once on the road, the moment you pull the steering wheel off-center, you notice how rapidly and accurately the BR-Z responds to driver inputs. The weight distribution is not quite 50/50; Subaru engineers will only admit that less than 60 percent of the car’s mass is over the front axle, and the chassis has been set up for mild understeer. But there’s no mistaking the agility borne of low mass, slung low.
If you consider yourself a driver, and enthusiast, a gearhead, then the Subaru BRZ has been designed for you. It’s not a car that can only be experienced at a race track, though it’s happy to do so, it’s a car that you look forward to driving every day, on any road that you can find.
by Todd Todd Bianco ACarIsNotARefrigerator.com
In any constellation, some stars appear brighter than others. In the constellation of Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. – one of Japan’s largest industrial companies – its subsidiary, Subaru, is that shining star.
Literally and figuratively, Subaru, which is the Japanese word for the Pleaides – has been a rock star in the depressed auto sales environment spawned by the collapse of the economy in 2008. Over the past few years, Subaru has seen double-digit sales increases and 2011 was its best year ever.
Perhaps it’s Subaru’s legendary reliability or perhaps its just that the company stayed laser-focused on its core “outdoor lifestyle vehicles” for its rabidly-loyal customers. Whatever the reason, there is no argument that Subaru has hit a successful formula that continues to resonate with hard-core enthusiasts as well as more recent members of the Subaru family.
If you know nothing about Subaru, you should know that it has two defining traits. First, it’s the only mass-market auto manufacturer that uses flat boxer engines in all its vehicles. (Porsche uses boxer engines in its sports cars, but not its other products.) And that boxer engine always drives all four wheels to form what Subaru calls symmetrical all-wheel drive.
Here’s an animation of how the Subaru boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive work:
While Subaru is a popular niche brand in the Southland, you really need to drive up to Big Bear, Mammoth or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest to appreciate how many people choose a Subaru over other AWD cars. The first time I went to Jackson Hole, I was amazed by the number of people (full-time residents) who had a big 4-wheel drive pickup or SUV and a Subaru wagon in their driveways.
The Impreza has been Subaru’s humble entry-level car for many years. For 2012, while Honda and Toyota played it safe with subtle evolutions of their core products, Subaru took a quantum leap with the Impreza. The body, while remaining almost identical in size to the outgoing model, received new creased and crisp sheet metal and the interior lost much of the cheap-looking plastics in favor of more tailored, textured and soft-touch materials.
Beneath the handsome new metal (with nicely detailed wheel wells) is Subaru’s new 2.0L boxer engine making a relatively modest 148 hp 145 lb-ft of torque. The new engine sheds half a liter and 22 horsepower, but you’d never know it because its power and torque is managed much more efficiently by the new Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) that replaces the old-school four-speed automatic. Both a 5-speed manual and the CVT are available, but the CVT is the only transmission offered on the top-line Limited model.
Subaru claims a zero to 60 mpg time of 9.8 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than the last Impreza that had a more powerful engine. While it’s not glacial, it’s 1/10th of a second slower than a standard Prius. It did seem quick off the line, but it takes a bit more time and effort for the engine to achieve highway speed.
The big news, however, is that fuel economy jumped from a decidedly uncompetitive 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway to 27 mpg city, 36 mpg highway. That stunning 30% increase instantly makes Subaru competitive with other subcompact cars, even while sporting the heavier AWD hardware not available on any competitor like the Honda Civic or Ford Focus.
The new Impreza has a smaller gas tank (14.5 gallons), but with the boosted fuel economy, it still has a potential cruising range of more than 500 miles.
The base 2012 Impreza 2.0i sedan is $17,495. Additional trim levels are Premium and Limited. Add $500 for the 5-door version and $1,000 for the 5-door Sport. I wanted to test the much more rakish and desirable 5-door Sport Limited model; but those are so popular, dealers can’t keep them in stock.
My gracious host at Subaru Pacific had a loaded Limited sedan (MSRP $24,895) ready for me to test. The standard Lineartronic CVT produces the best fuel economy. The sedan is identical to the 5-door/Sport model from the B-pillar forward, so both should have the same driving characteristics.
First, I’d like to state for the record that I’m not a big fan of CVTs. CVTs are a bit buzzy and the mechanical shifts I like to feel when driving are missing. That said, Subaru’s CVT is pretty advanced and civilized. Humming and complaining was reserved for heavy acceleration. However, in normal stop-and-go city traffic and highway speed cruising, the transmission works well and is unobtrusive.
The Lineartronic’s “M” mode gives the driver the feel and control of a 6-speed automatic. Handsome silver paddle shifters behind the steering wheel engage the fun. The LCD information screen between the analog gauges displays the number corresponding to the “gear” you feel you’re in. Slick stuff, but it’s more of a gimmick than useful. You’ll find yourself just leaving it in Drive and saving the manual mode for a steep decline.
The four-wheel independent suspension with double wishbones in the rear and MacPherson struts up front absorb rough surfaces better than in the past and the overall architecture is 110 pounds lighter (mostly from engine weight) and more rigid. Subaru added some sound-deadening materials that makes the cabin a place where you can hold a normal conversation at highway speeds, even if there is some road noise.
Standard 4-wheel antilock disc brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) grab the wheels with assurance. Some cars in this class are still cutting costs with rear drum brakes. Of course, there are loads of airbags and the standard electronic nannies of traction control (TCS) and vehicle dynamics control (VDC) and the IIHS awarded the 2012 Impreza its Top Safety Pick rating.
Driving the new Impreza is an uncomplicated experience. As I discussed above, it’s not fast, but it is quick off the line which is good for city driving. There is no torque steer, thanks to the AWD and the 50/50 split torque management system. The electric power steering is light and easy, if a bit vague. It tracked dead straight with my hands off the wheel. It also had a great turning radius (34.8 feet) that allowed me to do doughnuts in the Porsche Pacific parking lot.
The little Subie’s low CG and stiffer structure help keep it flat and controlled in corners — this is no Costa Concordia. Visibility was excellent due to a low belt-line and the new higher seating position.
Creature features are present too. There is the usual power windows, mirrors and remote locking. Leather trimmed seats are standard on the Limited model, as is the effective single-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights and two-level heated front seats for those chilly mornings.
The back-lit analog instruments are easy to read and a vertical LCD screen between the two gauge displays the gear and fuel level was well as information from the multi-function trip computer including ambient temperature, average fuel economy and time. A 4.3″ horizontal LCD screen centered on top of the dash also displays information from the mufti-function trip computer.
The Limited trim level includes a 6-speaker single-CD audio system with USB/iPod/AUX and power port (under the armrest) and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity.
The $2,000 Moonroof + Navigation Package on my tester added a power moonroof, GPS touch-screen navigation, an upgraded audio system with HD radio, iTunes tagging, XM Satellite Radio, XM Real-Time Traffic, Bluetooth 2.0 audio streaming, an SD card reader (music only) and SMS text messaging capabilities.
The center dash console is decidedly uncluttered and mercifully free of fake plastic wood. I liked the dark graphite plastic surround and the aluminum-look horizontal blades on either side.
Only three buttons adorn the left side of the navigation screen Audio, Voice Control and Map. Simple, yes, but I was looking for a dedicated telephone button. All radio functions are performed through the touch-screen, but I think physical shortcut buttons for AM/FM/Sat/Aux would be helpful. Redundant audio and telephone controls are on the steering.
My car was equipped with the optional $250 auto-dimming rearview mirror with digital compass and HomeLink garage opener. I love the compass and ditching the garage door opener clipped to the visor tidies things up. It can be factory-ordered or dealer-installed.
Of course, I have a few gripes. I would have liked more legroom and additional driver’s seat adjustments. The good news is that I was able to sit behind myself, and I had the front seat as far back as could go for my 6 foot 1 inch frame. In fact, the 2012 Impreza added one inch to the wheelbase which helped engineers add two inches of rear leg room. This is much appreciated space in a small car.
The door plastics were still hard, although textured. The dash cowl was covered with softer plastic, more in line with the competition. I give Subaru props for the effort, but compared to the competition, there is room for improvement.
The 6.1 inch navigation screen looks small compared to the 7 inch screen in the Hyundai Elantra and the 8 inch one in the Focus. However, the full color graphics were sharp and the touch screen was responsive. I’d also like a backup camera.
So here’s the deal: A fully-loaded Impreza is just slightly more than a similar Civic or Elantra. But only Subaru delivers as standard equipment, its reliable, proven symmetrical all-wheel drive with a new, efficient boxer engine and a CVT.
The Verdict: The 2012 Impreza is a fun, economical and versatile little car that can take you places no other subcompact dare go. And based on 2012 Impreza sales – a 58% increase in December 2011 alone – I’d say the secret is out.
Note: If you want something with more ground clearance, something in the crossover category, the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, based on the 2012 Impreza platform and drivetrain, is coming in a few months.