Subaru plans new hybrid, SUV and Level 2 autonomy

The automaker sets its sights on an 18 percent global sales increase in the next several years.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
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2019 Subaru Forester
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2019 Subaru Forester

The redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester will go on sale later this year.


Subaru has now seen 79 months of steady month-over-month growth in the US, the company's largest market. But that doesn't mean it's about to rest on its laurels. Tomomi Nakamura, the company's new president, says Subaru has an ambitious plan in place to increase global market share over the next several years.

According to Automotive News, Subaru will launch a number of important products across global markets in the coming years. Nakamura says these products will include a new hybrid vehicle and a "global strategic SUV" in the early 2020s. Furthermore, Automotive News says Subaru will work on "evolving the Dynamic X Solid design language into a 'bolder' expression" and "enhancing sporty models" (read: WRX/STI).

On top of that, Subaru will reportedly deliver Level 2 autonomous highway driving sometime around 2020, with higher levels arriving by 2024. Level 2 systems currently include things like Cadillac Super Cruise, Nissan ProPilot Assist and Tesla Autopilot.

Nakamura calls Subaru's new plan "STEP," for speed, trust, engagement and peace of mind. The second part is especially important -- Subaru is trying hard to regain the trust of buyers in its home market of Japan, following recent emissions and vehicle quality scandals.

The ultimate goal is to raise global sales by 18 percent by the fiscal year ending March 31, 2026. That means 1.3 million units sold globally, compared with the current 1.1 million vehicles Subaru expects to sell in the current fiscal year. Ambitious, yes, but given Subaru's recent momentum, totally doable.

2019 Subaru Forester is roomier and quieter than before

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