Subaru celebrates 20 million All-Wheel Drive vehicles
Subaru Corporation in Japan is celebrating an incredible milestone, with cumulative production of 20 million All-Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles.
It has been 49 years since the famed AWD system was introduced. The story began with the Subaru Leone 4WD Estate Van, Japan's first mass-produced AWD passenger car, in September 1972.
Subaru’s first significant AWD sales success in New Zealand came in 1989, with the Legacy, which was the first model with full time AWD.
Subaru New Zealand’s decision to pioneer 100% AWD was made in 1996 and the Kiwi adventure brand has not veered from this sure-footed path since.
Multiple years of annual sales records followed – clear proof of AWD acceptance among Subaru loyalists and an ever-increasing new customer base.
Subaru of New Zealand’s Managing Director Wallis Dumper says the catch phrase ‘Subaru Country’ was coined due to the engineering prowess that AWD provides and the relevance it has for Kiwi drivers in New Zealand.
“In a country where one third of our roads are unsealed and can quickly turn from straight roads into hairpins, potholes and gravel, it’s as if a country as varied and exciting as New Zealand was made for vehicles as confident as Subarus.”
“For the past 25 years our Subaru range has been solely AWD and our vehicles have taken Kiwis out of cities and onto the gravel roads that lead to adventure. The beauty of AWD is that it delivers engine power to all four wheels simultaneously. Having power distributed across all four wheels, rather than two on conventional vehicles, gives you twice the grip capacity.”
“All of our 16 locally-owned and operated Authorised Subaru Centres only stock NZ new AWD Subarus,” he says.
Globally, AWD models now account for 98% of Subaru’s sales.
The magic ingredient in the AWD success story is the linkage of the system to the flat, horizontally opposed, ‘Boxer’ engine.
The symmetrical layout of the AWD-engine combination produces the low centre of gravity and weight balance, which optimises safety, stability, traction and fun driving – whatever the weather and road conditions.
AWD offers a tremendous sense of security on slippery road surfaces such as snow or ice, plus enhanced driving capability on rough roads. And because it is automatic, at no stage does the driver risk distraction by selecting the system: it is always on.
Mr Dumper adds: “It’s no coincidence that New Zealand has one of the highest proportions of Subaru drivers in the world, per capita, because the sheer grip of AWD is a huge peace-of-mind factor for those hitting the ski fields in winter and those hard-to-get-to locations in summer.”
“Equally, the safety and sense of security of Subaru AWD around town is a critical ingredient in our city success – just ask anyone driving a Subaru on a rainy day,” he says.
As a core technology, Subaru in Japan has been enhancing its AWD systems for nearly half a century, with the next exciting step being its entry into the electrified vehicle arena.
For upcoming full hybrid and electrified models - including the SOLTERRA, due in some overseas markets next year with a timeline yet to be confirmed for New Zealand - AWD capability will be further enhanced with electrification technology.
This is in line with Subaru Corporation’s aim of increased ‘Enjoyment and Peace of Mind’ for the driver and passengers.
Mr Dumper concludes: “Between Matariki falling this week - the star cluster on our Subaru badge - and this huge AWD milestone, it’s a celebratory seven days here at Subaru. And while Subaru may not be born here, it sure feels like home here in Subaru Country.”
Find out more about the All-Wheel Drive Subaru range here.
Subaru of New Zealand
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