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