Subaru’s New Concept Car Is Massive
Subaru of America has tripled its annual vehicles sales in the past decade thanks to a cult-like following among both gearheads and suburban families who lap up their range of all-wheel drive cars and SUVs.
Now it’s betting that by going big—literally—it can reach a new aggressive annual sales goal of 800,000 vehicles by 2020. The automaker, which is owned by parent company Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan, currently has a 3.5% U.S. market share representing more than 600,000 vehicles sold annually.
Subaru unveiled its game plan Thursday at the LA Auto Show: a full-size sports utility concept that can sit seven people. The Viziv-7 SUV Concept expresses the company’s core brand values, safety, dependability, capability for outdoor activities and a forward looking attitude,” said Takeshi Tachimori, corporate executive vice president, Fuji Heavy Industries.
The three-row SUV, which at over 17ft is longer than a Chevrolet Tahoe, will be introduced to the North American market in early 2018. A production version of the Viziv-7 concept will be unveiled sometime next year, according to Michael McHale, director of corporate communications at Subaru America.
“The new Impreza will help us get there,” said Subaru of America President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Doll, referring to the company’s sales goal. “But in order to achieve our sales target of 800,000 vehicles by 2020 we’re going to need to expand our lineup with an all-new model. A new model that will expand appeal of the Subaru brand into a new market segment.
“The name of the production version will be common to the adventurous feeling that our other names have,” Doll told Fortune after the reveal. Subaru’s other model names include Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek. Expect the full-size SUV to have a name in that same vein, he said.
“We’re going to have to have hybrids and electric vehicles coming in the future in order to comply with the regulations,” Doll added.
The new vehicle will be produced in the U.S. at Subaru’s factory in Indiana.
Tachimori also announced during the Viziv-7 Concept reveal that Fuji Heavy Industries will change its name to Subaru Corporation. The name change will occur in April 2017.
Subaru of America executives say the name change will only help increase brand awareness.
“Now whenever Subaru Corporation gets mentioned it’s a brand mention too, said McHale.