Subaru launching new design language

The next Impreza will be the first to receive a brand-wide makeover.

Subaru is getting ready to unleash a new design language across all models in its lineup. The effort is part of an aggressive plan to increase global sales by 25 percent.

Subaru has seen record-breaking sales in the last few years, with 958,000 cars sold in the past year, but in order to grow even more the company knows it must prioritize design. Automotive News spoke with Mamoru Ishii, Subaru's head of global design who took the position in 2013. The 53-year-old Ishii — who horseback rides for fun and owns a 1966 Toyota Sports 800 sports car — soon began working on the new look of Subaru.

Called Dynamic X Solid, the fruits of his labor are about to be borne in the production Impreza due out this fall, but the first concept to wear the new sheetmetal was the VIZIV 2 compact crossover concept from the Geneva Motor Show.

The design incorporates broader themes like ruggedness with chiseled angles and muscular surfacing, or sportiness with more rake in the windshields while maintaining the packaging Subaru buyers expect. In the details, what Automotive News calls bracket-shaped headlights are said to invoke Subaru's trademark boxer engines.

Ishii says that the look can be scaled down for a sporty car or scaled up for a larger crossover. It will take about five years to percolate through the lineup. After exteriors are locked down, a major rethink of Subaru's interiors is next.

Ishii describes his company's design department as "probably the world's smallest," but it is getting more say within the company. Design is seesn as necessary for a smaller marque to stand out. "Customers have stopped rejecting us because of design, but we're not getting customers to buy because of design," said Ishii.

Images by Ronan Glon.

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