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LA show: Subaru teases sportscar concept

Sleek: The LA show car will not be Subaru’s version of the affordable sportscar it has developed in conjunction with Toyota.

Sports concept will showcase Subaru’s new design and eco ethos, not the ‘Subarota’

4 Nov 2010

SUBARU has issued a teaser image of a sporting concept car it will present at the Los Angeles motor show on November 17, pointing to a fresh design direction the Japanese manufacturer will take with future models under a new ‘Confidence in Motion’ brand banner.

GoAuto sources have confirmed that the LA show car will not be Subaru’s much-anticipated and still-to-be-seen all-new rear-wheel-drive sportscar, dubbed the ‘Subarota’ and developed in conjunction with Toyota’s FT-86.

2 center imageLeft: Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept. Below: Toyota FT-86.

Instead, the concept will be an embodiment of a new ‘Confidence in Motion’ slogan that Subaru’s parent Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) has developed, and will be the “first step” of this new marketing and brand direction.

Our sources indicate that the intention with the LA concept is to showcase its future design direction rather than pointing to a specific model such as the Subaru version of the FT-86, which is expected to reach the market within the next 24 months and should become available with a hybrid powertrain. “It is definitely not that,” one source said. In a statement accompanying the teaser image, which shows a silhouette of a sports model with a coupe-like roofline, bulging wheelarches and short overhangs, FHI described the ‘Confidence in Motion’ global brand statement as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the Subaru brand.

It said the slogan, which from now on “will be at the centre of all Subaru activities”, expresses the company’s aim to continue to evolve in order to attract more customers to the brand.

This will include new models such as its version of the FT-86, as well as alternative powertrains, including hybrid and electric vehicles. The model to be shown in LA is expected to be shown with a sports-oriented electrified powertrain, possibly a development of the direct-injection turbocharged boxer engine and twin electric motor combination used in the Hybrid Tourer concept presented at the Tokyo motor show in October last year. As GoAuto reported at the time, this engine previewed a “next-generation” 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct-injection turbo boxer engine, and also demonstrated Subaru’s first full-blown petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain.

The system employs two electric motors – one at either end of the vehicle – plus regenerative braking and idle-stop systems and a lithium-ion battery pack similar to that found in Subaru’s plug-in Stella electric vehicle.

Subaru says the direct-injection boxer four is the primary power source during normal driving, with the 20kW rear electric motor assisting the petrol engine during acceleration and the 10kW front motor also kicking in during uphill acceleration.

Confirming the Tourer employs a full parallel, or two-mode, hybrid drive system as used by Toyota’s Prius, the petrol engine remains idle while the rear electric motor provides drive for take-off and during extremely low speeds such as when parking.

With the new ‘Confidence in Motion’ tagline, FHI explains that ‘confidence’ reflects “Subaru’s attitude toward engineering excellence and the trust generated among drivers by following through on its commitment to provide both enjoyment and peace of mind”.

‘In motion’ is said to express “Subaru’s resolve to continue innovating to meet customer expectations in a world of constant change”.

“Subaru will proactively address global environmental issues and the demands of ever-maturing automobile use,” the company said.

“Subaru believes automobiles should be more than just a means of simple transportations. They should also be a source of enjoyment, and enjoyment rests on a foundation of peace of mind. “These two inseparable values are central to the Subaru experience. As customer expectations are diversifying, Subaru will foresee these needs with independent thinking and continue to offer enjoyment and peace of mind without losing sight of the essence of what an automobile should be.”

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