Subaru of America, Inc. Executive Vice President Thomas J. Doll discusses the company’s future from corporate headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
As 2007 begins, Drive explores what is in store for Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) with Thomas J. Doll, SOA Executive Vice President. Here he addresses a number of topics in a conversation about where SOA is now and where it’s heading.
SUBARU SAFETY ENGINEERING
THE SUBARU COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT
“For starters, think about this: What a family typically puts on the curb for trash pickup is more landfill waste than from our entire U.S. assembly plant, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (SIA). SIA has been a zero landfill waste facility since May 2004. In addition, it was the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. to be designated as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Deer, coyotes, beavers, blue herons, and other wild animals live on the site in peaceful coexistence with the Subaru plant.
“We’re also very proud that our plant was recently given a Gold Achievement New Partner Award by the EPA. It was honored as a top achiever among more than 100 participants in the Agency’s ‘WasteWise’ program. And you’ll read in the News section of this issue of Drive about our partnership with Interface, Inc., a manufacturer of environmentally responsible floor coverings and other textiles. Through this partnership, Subaru will subsidize the planting of thousands of trees under the ‘Global ReLeaf Program’ sponsored by American Forests. For every three trees planted under this program, one ton of carbon will be eliminated from the environment.
“Of course, you can’t talk about the environment without considering the impact of vehicles. In many people’s eyes, that translates into hybrid and/or alternative fuel vehicles. Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., our parent company, has built and is actively studying concept hybrid vehicles that provide performance and AWD capability with longer battery life, low emissions, and a 30-percent improvement in fuel efficiency. In 2008, Subaru will launch a low-emission diesel model in the European market.
“You should also know that Subaru has been a leader in PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) technology. Our vehicles earning the PZEV emissions rating are approximately 90-percent cleaner running than the average new vehicle. They have such tight pollution controls that in some smoggy urban areas, exhaust coming out of the tailpipe is actually cleaner than the air outside. These vehicles sometimes have even lower emissions than hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles.
“And even the non-PZEV Subaru Outback and Forester models are currently designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as ‘SmartWaySM’ vehicles because of their clean-burning engines.
“So, while other manufacturers may point to hybrids as their total environmental focus, the Subaru commitment to the environment is broader and built from the ground up. It is in our corporate DNA; it is felt personally by each of our employees; and it is ingrained in the way we approach our business.”
“Subaru is truly the All-Wheel Drive specialist. While other manufacturers tend to offer AWD in only their top-of-the-line models, we have it in every vehicle we manufacture. And ours is the most fuel-efficient fleet of All-Wheel Drive vehicles in the marketplace.
“Extending our technology, in some of our 2007 Legacy and Outback models, we offer SI-DRIVE. The ‘SI’ stands for ‘Subaru Intelligent,’ and this feature allows the driver to control engine variables to deliver a range of acceleration characteristics simply by turning a knob. That’s also part of our performance and fuel efficiency story.” (For more about SI-DRIVE, see Subaru News in the Summer 2006 Drive at www.drivesubaru.com.)
“Overall, Subaru vehicles feature world-class design and construction. Our style will continue to reflect our heritage and the quality, performance, and efficiency for which Subaru vehicles are world-renowned.”
MODEL LINEUP ENHANCEMENTS
“For example, we are creating excellent value with the new 2007 Outback 2.5i Basic model that has everything you love about Outback priced at the entry point of $21,995. In addition, the new 2007 Outback 2.5i L.L.Bean® wagon features a standard transmission, touch-screen GPS navigation system, and six-disc CD changer for $26,295. Further, we have a new Outback 2.5i Limited L.L.Bean wagon, which offers these features plus leather seats, a power moonroof, and power front passenger seat, priced at $28,995.
“In the Forester line, we’ve added a Forester Sports 2.5 X model with a six-disc CD player, wiring for satellite radio, auxiliary audio jacks, and automatic climate control for $21,695! This represents a tremendous value for those looking for a vehicle in the compact SUV segment.
“Also, we are bringing out a new 2007 Forester Sports 2.5 XT model with a turbo engine and a sporty new front end – new front bumper and unique black mesh grille. The Forester Sports 2.5 XT with automatic transmission features the added traction and control of Vehicle Dynamics Control (Subaru’s version of stability control) and Variable Torque Distribution for added agility and performance. The 2007 Forester Sports 2.5 XT model is priced starting at $25,995.
“In the Impreza line, we’re bringing out a Special Edition 2.5i Sedan that will have a six-disc CD player, auxiliary jack, satellite radio capability, a moonroof, and automatic climate control, all for $18,995 – another outstanding value from Subaru.
“And while we’re talking about value, it’s important to note that the Automotive Lease Guide (ALG) recently announced its annual Residual Value Awards, which honor those vehicles in each automotive segment predicted to retain the highest percentage of their original price. I’m pleased to say that Subaru is ranked third in the Industry Brand Residual Value Rankings just behind Toyota and Honda respectively.”
“The Subaru corporate family – Subaru of America and its dealerships – forms a partnership dedicated to creating a car ownership experience second to none. Our design studios and manufacturing facilities make every effort to produce a quality vehicle that will fulfill the needs and expectations of our customers. Our dealership personnel commit themselves to adding further value to the ownership experience, whether on the showroom floor or in the service areas.
“Finally, communication is at the heart of any relationship. Knowing what our customers want is critically important to us, because only with this knowledge can we deliver the automotive experience that sets us ahead of other manufacturers. We intend to stay relevant to our customers by offering them owner relationship programs that truly add value to the ownership experience and that make it easier in every aspect for the customer to do business with us.”