- Subaru’s next-generation platform to achieve significant enhancement in overall vehicle performance
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, has unveiled an overview of the Subaru Global Platform, which is currently under development as the architecture to be used for all the company’s next-generation vehicles.
The Subaru Global Platform is part of the 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, the new platform will constitute the basic foundation of the next generation of Subaru vehicles.
Marking the launch of the new concept, FHI President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said, “The Subaru Global Platform lifts Subaru’s automotive technology to new heights, and marks the next step in the evolution of ‘Enjoyment and Peace of Mind’, the value that Subaru offers to its customers. 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. We continue to work on designing ever-more attractive vehicles that offer the customer both enjoyment and peace of mind.”
The next-generation platform looks ahead to 2025. The main features include:
1. Emotionally engaging ‘Dynamic feel’ that goes beyond high performance
The new platform will make possible a new type of driving experience, appealing directly to the senses and offering unparalleled smoothness and comfort – all backed up by excellent performance and specifications. Specifically, the new platform will further refine Subaru’s dynamic feel in the following areas:
The new platform dramatically increases rigidity throughout the body and chassis (a 70% to 100% increase over present models) and incorporates substantial improvements to the suspension system and achieves a lower centre of gravity, bringing about highly responsive steering that allows drivers to control the vehicle precisely as they want. The eradication of unnecessary movement in handling makes the car better grip the road surface, anticipating the need for enhanced straight-line stability in the autonomous vehicles of the future.
Noise and vibration suppression
Optimised frame structure and stronger joints between parts allow the new platform to improve overall torsional rigidity by 70% over present models. This distributes the resonance and distortion throughout the body, greatly reducing vibrations from the steering wheel, floor, and seats.
The new platform increases the rigidity of the suspension mounting, improving the absorption of the suspension without warping the body of the car, and providing a smooth and comfortable drive whatever the irregularities in the road surface. By mounting the rear stabiliser directly to the body, the new platform reduces the body roll of the vehicle by 50% compared to present models.
2. The world’s highest levels of safety
The new platform achieves a center of gravity that is 5 mm lower than present models. Together with the major improvements in rigidity and the evolution of the suspension system, this lower center of gravity makes possible a more stable driving experience than ever before, and offers outstanding danger avoidance capabilities on a level with a high-performance sports car.
Thanks to a frame structure that enables more efficient energy absorption in the event of collision, and enhanced body rigidity resulting from increased use of high-tensile steel plates (including materials formed by the hot press method), impact energy absorption is improved by 40% over present models. 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.
3. Single Design Concept for development of all models, adaptable to electrification in the future
- The new platform will offer a single unified design concept for all Subaru models. Planning the main specifications of all vehicle types at one time and flexibly adjusting these basic specifications to match with the requirements of different models will strengthen the entire Subaru lineup, while still allowing the company to develop models that take advantage of each model’s strengths.
- The new concept allows one design concept to be adapted not only to gasoline engines but also to hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, and other types of alternative power units.
- Development based on a single design concept makes it possible to use limited development personnel and facilities efficiently to develop a diverse range of models and to direct the resulting savings into areas that can make Subaru products more competitive.
- It will also become possible to produce platform components for multiple models in the same production facility, rather than manufacturing them in different factories as has been the case in the past. This will increase production efficiency at Subaru’s factories and at partner companies. The new unified design concept will also make it easier for Subaru’s two factories in Japan and the Subaru of Indiana Automotive plant in the United States to carry out production of multiple different models on a single line, making the company’s global production system more flexible.
The Subaru Global Platform will be used in the development of all Subaru vehicles from now on, beginning with the next-generation Impreza, due later in 2016.
FHI remains true to its management philosophy – to become ‘a compelling company with a strong market presence’ on the basis of a ‘customer-first’ policy.