Say say­onara

It’s out with the old, in with the new

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­

THE life of the Subaru Im­preza is be­ing cut short to clear the way for a vastly im­proved new model.

The car in show­rooms to­day will have only a four-year life­span— the short­est yet for a main­stream Subaru model— as the Ja­panese com­pany ac­cel­er­ates an all-new small- car plan. Subaru, which pre­viewed the new Im­preza at the New York mo­tor show, will de­velop newWRXand STi per­for­mance cars in a sep­a­rate stream, and is likely to turn the XV con­cept from the Shang­hai show into a com­pact cross­over to sit be­low the Forester.

The lat­est Im­preza twins— with much im­proved qual­ity and a cabin to ri­val the pre­vi­ous-gen­er­a­tion Lib­erty— will hit Aus­tralia later this year, al­though the ex­act tim­ing is un­clear fol­low­ing the Ja­panese earth­quake disas­ter.

The new small-car ap­proach was out­lined to Cars­guide in New York by the pres­i­dent of Subaru, Ikuo Mori, stand­ing along­side the all-new Im­preza.

‘‘ We sep­a­rated the char­ac­ter of the Im­preza and the WRX. We have no plan to make a WRXon this new car,’’ he says.

‘‘ In the past the Im­preza mod­els were in com­bi­na­tion with theWRXand STi.

‘‘ Now we com­pletely sep­a­rate the prod­ucts.’’

He re­fuses to give any tim­ing for the stand-aloneWRXand STi, al­though the cars are likely to run less than 18 months be­hind the Im­preza, with a pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the XV Con­cept af­ter that.

Mori says the split strat­egy is the right way to build the Subaru brand, as it moves away from its pre­vi­ous mini car lineup to fo­cus on the Im­preza and Lib­erty fam­i­lies.

It’s a sim­i­lar ap­proach to that taken by BMW, which is be­com­ing the world’s big­gest niche car­maker, and by Audi.

Now we fo­cus our de­vel­op­ment, so we have some re­sources to bring to the Im­preza,’’ Mori adds.

The Im­preza is a new, big­ger, eco-friendly car. The STi is dif­fer­ent.’’

Big­ger, bet­ter: NewIm­preza (right) and the oldWRX(top); Subaru is sep­a­rat­ing them into dif­fer­ent mod­els

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