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Subaru to unleash new design language

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On: Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 12:42PM | By: Carl Malek


Subaru to unleash new design language

Subaru has big plans to drastically increase its global sales; it aims to achieve this by implementing an all-new design language which is expected to make its inaugural appearance on the next generation Subaru Impreza.

Subaru has already seen record sales growth over the past several years—the company sold 958,000 cars last year. However, executives within Subaru know that in order for the firm to build on this growth, design and the overall look of the model lineup must receive higher consideration. This was brought out by Mamoru Iishii, Subaru's design chief, in a recent interview with Automotive News.

Ishii took his current position back in 2013. Known as one of the more unconventional designers in the automotive world, 53-year-old designer has set about making changes to Subaru's functional but bland design language in an attempt to bring more aggression and refinement to the company's vehicles. Dubbed Dynamic X Solid, the new design language was first previewed on the VIZIV 2 concept CUV at the Geneva Motor Show a few years ago, but will bear its first production-bound fruit with its official debut this fall on the next generation Subaru Impreza.

The new language embodies a much broader suite of themes and includes high levels of ruggedness, as well as strategically placed chiseled lines and muscular surfacing. This is emphasized further on more performance-oriented models with a higher windshield rake adding higher levels of performance-inspired flair. It does all of this while retaining the basic packaging and layout that Subaru buyers have come to expect. This is seen quite clearly in the headlight design—supposedly inspired by the brand's trademark boxer engines. However, this subtle reference will most likely require an observant eye to catch the finer details.

Ishii added that the design elements are extremely flexible and can be scaled down for a sporty car, or scaled up for a crossover. He said that, like other design language changes, this one will take some time, most likely up to five years,to be implemented throughout the full model lineup. Once the exterior design is buttoned down, the company's equally bland interiors are next in line. Ishii notes that these massive changes are coming despite Subaru's design department being what he says is "probably the world's smallest". Regardless of size, it is clear that the design team is getting more say within the company, because management now understands that distinctive designs will to be needed to help Subaru stand out.

Ishii admits "Customers have stopped rejecting us because of design, but we're not getting customers to buy because of design." Look for Subaru to double down on the design side of things; its crossover line will probably play a major part in its broader sales plan, and the revised styling could allow them to build on their already impressive sales achievements by attracting a younger generation of buyers.




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