The Subaru Impreza sedan concept appearing here at the 2015 Los Angeles auto show is quite clearly the forerunner to the next Impreza sedan. The L.A. debut follows that of the Impreza hatchback concept shown last month in Tokyo (see gallery below), which in turn will be sold as the five-door version of Subaru’s entry level model. Here are five things you should know about the next Subaru Impreza family.
1. The new 2017 Subaru Impreza will be built in Lafayette, Indiana where the company has long been building the Legacy and Outback. Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries used to co-own the plant with Toyota, which used excess capacity to build Camrys. But Toyota, which owns a stake in FHI, pulled out to give all the capacity to fast-growing Subaru. The company’s upcoming seven-passenger crossover, which will replace the wholly unsuccessful B9 Tribeca, is also expected to be built in Lafayette when it arrives in 2018.
2. The architecture underpinning the Impreza, about which we do not know very much, is nonetheless the flexible architecture that will be the basis of the entire next generation of Subaru models, from the Impreza all the way to the seven-seater and everything in between, including the next Outback.
3. The bolder styling for the Impreza sedan concept is meant to jump-start sedan sales for Subaru. Most brands selling sedans and five-door versions of the same model in the U.S. do about 80 percent sedans and 20 percent hatchbacks. Subaru is the opposite, with hatches making up 80 percent of its sales split. Rather than converting hatch buyers, the Japanese company is hoping the new Subaru Impreza sedan will steal more Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Elantra shoppers.
4. Fuji Heavy Industries has a way of treating design and naming language like a clubbed seal. Don’t forget that Subaru called its big SUV the B9 Tribeca because management could not decide between the two, so they mashed both names together. This sedan concept’s design is being referred to as “Dynamic and Solid.” Fortunately “Impreza” rolls off the tongue more easily
5. Sales of the current Subaru Impreza are up 11 percent, setting monthly sales records for the model in a year when sales of smaller models are hurting from $2.20 gas prices. Subaru on the whole is up about 30 percent in the U.S. this year. With greater volume and more control over body mix in Indiana, Subaru is betting on the new Impreza to be a big volume gainer in 2017-2020.