27 winners of 2010 Top Safety Pick Award

New requirement to win is good rating for protection in rollovers


Arlington,VA November 18, 2009 -- Nineteen cars and 8 SUVs earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's TOP SAFETY PICK award for 2010 (list on p.2). For the first time, good performance in a roof strength test to measure protection in a rollover is required to win. TOP SAFETY PICK recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rear, and now rollover crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have electronic stability control, which research shows significantly reduces crash risk. This is the second time the Institute has tightened criteria since announcing the first recipients in 2005.

Subaru is the only manufacturer with a winner in all 4 vehicle classes in which it competes. This automaker earns 5 awards for 2010. Ford and subsidiary Volvo have 6 winners, and Volkswagen/Audi has 5. Chrysler earns 4 awards, continuing a recent trend of improving the crashworthiness of its vehicles. Two new small cars, the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul, join the TOP SAFETY PICK list for 2010.

"With the addition of our new roof strength evaluation, our crash test results now cover all 4 of the most common kinds of crashes," says Institute president Adrian Lund. "Consumers can use this list to zero in on the vehicles that are on the top rung for safety."

Good rollover ratings: A new requirement for strong roofs winnows the list of TOP SAFETY PICK winners from a record 94 in 2009. The addition of this criterion recognizes manufacturers with vehicles that provide good protection in rollovers, which kill more than 9,000 people in passenger vehicles each year. The first rollover ratings were released in March. Vehicles rated good have roofs more than twice as strong as the current federal standard requires. The Institute estimates that such roofs reduce the risk of serious and fatal injury in single-vehicle rollovers by about 50 percent compared with roofs meeting the minimum requirement.

"Cars and SUVs that win TOP SAFETY PICK are designs that go far beyond minimum federal safety standards," Lund points out.

Missing the mark: Not a single model from the world's biggest automaker by sales is represented among this year's winners. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion subsidiaries had a strong showing in 2009 with 11 winners but were shut out for 2010. Four other manufacturers whose vehicles have earned TOP SAFETY PICK in the past didn't have a qualifying vehicle for 2010: BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Saab. The Honda Accord picked up the award the past 2 years, but the 2010 didn't earn the required good roof strength rating to qualify (the roof is rated acceptable). The Ford Fusion is another midsize car that dropped off the list for the same reason.

"Honda and Ford would have to make only minor changes to achieve good ratings for roof strength, as the Accord and Fusion just missed the mark," Lund explains.

The midsize Toyota Camry would have qualified with good ratings, except for its rear crash evaluation. This car's seats and head restraints are rated marginal for protection against whiplash injury. A change to good would have earned the Camry a TOP SAFETY PICK for 2010. Other automakers have improved head restraints to win. For example, inadequate head restraints kept earlier Chrysler models from earning awards, but in 2010 the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger and Journey, and Jeep Patriot all earn good ratings and TOP SAFETY PICK. Likewise, General Motors upgraded the seats and head restraints in the Chevrolet Malibu to win.

Volvo glitch: The Institute identified a problem with the Volvo XC60 in the side test. A piece of plastic trim on the driver seat pushed against a service release button for the safety belt, which then detached from its anchor during the test.

"This would be a serious issue if it happened in a real crash, but it's not likely to happen and it's fixable," Lund explains. "Still, belts shouldn't come loose in a crash test. Volvo is fixing the problem so it won't be an issue with XC60 models produced after November 2009. TOP SAFETY PICK applies only to these modified XC60s."

Consumers who own 2010 XC60s already on the road should see their Volvo dealer for repairs, Lund advises.

Improved protection: Front and side impacts and rollovers killed 24,056 passenger vehicle occupants in 2008. Rear-end crashes usually aren't fatal but result in a large proportion of crash injuries. Neck sprain or strain is the most commonly reported injury in two-thirds of insurance claims for injuries in all kinds of crashes.

"In safety terms, we've come very far, very fast in just the past decade," Lund says. "When the Institute began conducting frontal tests for consumer information in 1995, few vehicles earned top ratings. Now almost all do. Most cars failed the side tests we added in 2003. Test results in that initial round were so bad we nearly broke our budget for repairing the crash test dummy, but now most vehicles ace the side test thanks to side airbags and stronger side structures. Factor in improved head restraints to protect against whiplash and electronic stability control to prevent crashes, and consumers are the clear winners."

Safety equipment is increasingly standard. Ninety-two percent of 2010 model cars, 99 percent of SUVs, and 66 percent of pickup trucks have standard side airbags with head protection. Electronic stability control is standard on 85 percent of cars, 100 percent of SUVs, and 62 percent of pickups.

"Now that roof strength is a priority, we think manufacturers will move quickly to bolster roofs to do well in our roof strength test. This means consumers likely will have more TOP SAFETY PICK choices for 2011," Lund predicts.

Keep in mind vehicle size and weight, he adds, because larger, heavier vehicles generally afford better protection in serious crashes than smaller, lighter ones. Even with a TOP SAFETY PICK, a small car isn't as crashworthy as a bigger one.

The Institute awarded the first TOP SAFETY PICK winners to 2006 models and then raised the bar the next year by requiring good rear test results and electronic stability control as either standard or optional equipment. Early this year the Institute alerted auto manufacturers to the new criteria for roof crush and asked them to nominate candidates for testing.

How vehicles are evaluated: The Institute's frontal crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of 40 mph frontal offset crash tests. Each vehicle's overall evaluation is based on measurements of intrusion into the occupant compartment, injury measures recorded on a Hybrid III dummy in the driver seat, and analysis of slow-motion film to assess how well the restraint system controlled dummy movement during the test.

Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. The barrier represents the front end of a pickup or SUV. Ratings reflect injury measures recorded on 2 instrumented SID-IIs dummies representing a 5th percentile woman, assessment of head protection countermeasures, and the vehicle's structural performance during the impact.

Rear crash protection is rated according to a two-step procedure. Starting points for the ratings are measurements of head restraint geometry -- the height of a restraint and its horizontal distance behind the back of the head of an average-size man. Seat/head restraints with good or acceptable geometry are tested dynamically using a dummy that measures forces on the neck. This test simulates a collision in which a stationary vehicle is struck in the rear at 20 mph. Seats without good or acceptable geometry are rated poor overall because they can't be positioned to protect many people.

In the roof strength test, a metal plate is pushed against 1 side of a roof at a constant speed. To earn a good rating for rollover protection, the roof must withstand a force of 4 times the vehicle's weight before reaching 5 inches of crush. This is called a strength-to-weight ratio. For an acceptable rating, the minimum required strength-to-weight ratio is 3.25. A marginal rating value is 2.5. Anything lower than that is rated poor.

For more information go to www.iihs.org

2010 Winners

Large cars
Buick LaCrosse
Ford Taurus
Lincoln MKS
Volvo S80

Midsize cars
Audi A3
Chevrolet Malibu built after Oct. 2009
Chrysler Sebring 4-door with optional ESC
Dodge Avenger with optional ESC
Mercedes C class
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Passat sedan Volvo C30

Small cars
Honda Civic 4-door with optional ESC, except Si
Kia Soul
Nissan Cube
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door

Midsize SUVs
Dodge Journey
Subaru Tribeca
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs
Honda Element
Jeep Patriot with optional side thorax airbags
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

Subaru of America, Inc. reports best October ever with a 41-percent sales gain

The company also had its best October sales for Subaru Forester, Legacy and Outback models


Cherry Hill NJ, November 3, 2009 -- Subaru of America, Inc. announced record-breaking October sales. The company not only had its best October sales ever, but also had its best October sales for the Subaru Forester, Legacy and Outback Models.

The company sold 18,169 units in October 2009 versus 12,917 units in October 2008, resulting in a 41-percent gain year-over-year. Subaru had a 13-percent gain year-to-date with 176,590 units sold in 2009 versus 156,706 units sold in 2008.

Sales for the following models broke all previous October records: the Subaru Forester had a 13-percent sales increase, the Subaru Legacy had a 112-percent sales increase and the Subaru Outback had a 175-percent sales increase.

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"The launch of our Legacy and Outback products is gaining momentum and helping to fuel record sales, while the record breaking success of Forester continues," said Tim Colbeck, senior vice president of sales, Subaru of America, Inc. "On top of that the 2010 Subaru Outback received the MOTOR TREND Sport/Utility of the Year Award, making us the first brand with back to back winners of this award. Given this powerful momentum we expect our strong sales results to continue."

"Subaru products represent the best all-around package in the auto industry today, because of their AWD capability, top safety pick designations by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) and significantly lower cost of ownership," said Thomas J. Doll, executive vice president and COO, Subaru of America, Inc. "In addition, the Subaru Outback and Forester models offer customers all of the utility of an SUV, but with the fuel economy of a passenger car.

About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of approximately 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru boasts the most fuel efficient line-up of all-wheel drive products sold in the market today based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy standards. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero- landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

Subaru showcases the ultimate Snow-Ready Performance Car at 2009 SEMA Show

Just in time for the holidays, a 400-horse (-powered) sleigh


Cherry Hill NJ, November 2, 2009 -- The Subaru WRX STI, when equipped with proper tires, is capable of impressive all-weather performance. But when even snow tires are not enough, Subaru offers a solution - a 400-hp WRX STI equipped with a snow tracks system, as showcased at the 2009 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Nov. 3-6.

Starting with a rally-prepared 2009 WRX STI, Subaru Rally Team USA's technical partner, Vermont SportsCar, built the one-off 400-hp TRAX STI envisioned by, and built for, DC Shoes co-founder and SRT USA driver Ken Block. The WRX STI TRAX is ready for the half-pipe, with a Yakima FatCat 4 Snowboard Rack up top, a Yakima Landing Pad rack base and DC Shoes XFB-C Snowboards. Naturally, there is a custom matching sleigh to go with it.

With the exception of the Mattracks rubber track system, the car is rally-prepared and similar in specification Block's #43 SRT USA competition STI. Starting with a stock 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Vermont SportsCar stripped the car's interior bare, lightened the shell and then fully seam-welded it for added strength, also installing a multipoint roll cage manufactured from T45 steel. Major differences from the stock STI include the addition of lightweight carbon/Kevlar RECARO SPA ProRacer competition seats with the Head and Neck Restraint System (HANS), carbon fiber door panels and an onboard fire suppression system.

Under the hood, the ultimate Subaru snow machine sports a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled STI engine tuned with a MOTEC M800 ECU. The engine, which kicks out approximately 400 hp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, is teamed with a KAPS 5-speed close-ratio dog-engagement gearbox and the Subaru programmable DCCD (Driver Controlled Center Differential) all-wheel drive system. Employing custom machined hubs, the drivetrain - which has been dropped three inches - is mated to Mattracks 105M1-A1 rubber track conversion. The car also features Group N competition rally dampers made by EXE-TC.

And now for something completely different

The WRX STI TRAX can bring four more friends along for the fun with its one-of-a-kind custom sleigh. Constructed with hand-laid fiberglass using sandwich-core construction, the sleigh runs on custom built steel skis with torsion bar suspension. Yakima FatCat 4 snowboard racks carry Qty 2 DC XFB Snowboards.

Protected beneath the padded roll bars are four heated and embroi-dered leather RECARO Speed seats with Sabelt 4-point harnesses. For music on the slopes, a marine grade water resistant Alpine digital media receiver is coupled with marine grade Kicker speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer. The rear of the sleigh features a large cooler and a grab-bar for towing snowboarders. Cup holders and LED lighting finish off the interior.

The sleigh also features a carbon fiber dashboard, center tunnel cover and rear-cooler cover. Tucked into a glovebox within the carbon fiber covered dashboard are two Viosport POV.1 camera systems. One camera lens is flush-mounted within the dashboard to film passengers, and the other is mounted high on the roll bar to record action around the sleigh.

About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru boasts the most fuel efficient line-up of all-wheel drive products sold in the market today based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy standards. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero- landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

Subaru reveals ultimate Sport/Track Wagon at SEMA 2009

Cherry Hill NJ, November 2, 2009 -- Subaru of America, Inc. is showcasing the Legacy GTk, a concept for a track-ready sport wagon, at the 2009 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Nov. 3-6. A unique design and "added bonus" in the cargo area make the Legacy GTk the perfect car for a family day at the track.

If a turbocharged, lowered, beefed-up Subaru sport wagon sounds like a great car for taking to the track for some autocross action, then wait until you open the rear liftgate. In the generously sized cargo area, you'll find a Coyote Motorsports XP kart (the "k" in GTk), also ready for track duty - in this case, SCCA Solo autocross. The Subaru Legacy GTk is a car you can drive to the autocross track, and then compete against your kart-driving teenager in a handicapped point system on the same track - with no trailer necessary.

The one-of-a-kind Legacy GTk, constructed to Subaru's specifications by Specialized Vehicles, Inc. (SVI), probes the outer limits of what a sport wagon can be. The GTk Concept combines the power and presence of a performance-tuned Legacy with the cargo capacity of the all-new 2010 Outback. The cargo area is large enough to haul a complete race kart, which weighs about 160 lbs. with engine and ready to race.

SVI worked with other suppliers to integrate individual sub-systems and components. Developed by JAC Products with input from Subaru, the roof cargo management hardware on the Legacy GTk wagon provides a sleek profile while offering a fully functional cross bar system.

The liftgate spoiler, midgate spoiler and blackout-style HID headlights were sourced from the Japanese domestic market (JDM) Legacy. SVI applied its own custom parts, including a front air dam with fog lights; lateral hood vents; custom window tint, and, at the rear, smoked tail lights and a diffuser. The final touch from SVI is a custom black-over-red paint scheme.

Subaru Turbo boosted to 300 HP

The Legacy GTk powertrain, including the new 6-speed manual transmission, is borrowed from a 2010 Legacy 2.5GT Sedan. With a modified exhaust system and reprogrammed ECU - but no bolt-on performance parts - the 2.5-liter turbocharged and intercooled engine produces 300 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque, up from the stock model's 265 hp and 258 lb.-ft.

The Legacy GTk draws from the Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT) and STI catalogs. An SPT short-throw shifter with STI shift knob controls the 6-speed. The Continuous version of the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system uses a viscous coupling locking center differential. The system splits the torque 50:50 and can transfer more power to the wheels with the best traction.

SVI built a custom quad-tipped exhaust system for the Legacy GTk, giving the Subaru Boxer® growl a track-inspired tone. Under the hood, the engine compartment is dressed out with braided stainless hoses and brake lines and SPT anodized aluminum parts.

Track-ified chassis

Bolt-on chassis mods make the Legacy GTk is track-ready, starting up front with an SPT strut tower brace. Suspension is lowered using Bilstein® struts and suspension calibration, along with STI "pink" springs. A full Brembo® brake upgrade uses 6-piston monobloc calipers in front with 355 x 32 mm 2-piece floating cross-drilled discs and billet aluminum hats. The rear setup is the same, but with 4-piston calipers. Getting the power to the pavement are BF Goodrich P245/50 R19 Force-KDW 2 tires mounted to HRE custom 19-inch Comp wheels.

Custom interior and "garage" are enviro-friendly

Driving a track car is no cause to forgo comfort, convenience and onboard entertainment. The Legacy GTk interior combines fun and functional. Coming under the "functional" banner is the custom-made "kart friendly" cargo area with rubber decking, tie-down points, and LED lighting. Under the "comfort" column, there is a full custom Ultrasuede® and leather trimmed interior, including Recaro® Sportster custom front seats and custom matching rear seats.

The maker of Ultrasuede, Toray, employed its latest EcoDesign product to comply with Subaru of America's policy to minimize waste. (The Subaru of Indiana Automotive plant that builds Legacy, Outback and Tribeca models has achieved Zero Landfill status.) The EcoDesign product is made using 100-percent recycled Ultra Microfibers; the base material comes from the manufacturer's post industrial-sourced polyester film.

The Legacy GTk instrument panel and doors feature carbon fiber patterned trim. Custom boost, temperature and oil pressure gauges provide vital engine information, and STI aluminum pedals add a rally car feel. The harman/kardon® custom surround-sound audio system drives 18 speakers with an 11-channel high efficiency GreenEdge processor/amplifier. Compared to conventional mobile audio systems, harman/kardon® GreenEdge components are lighter and consume less power to produce even higher acoustic output levels. The system is controlled by a harman/kardon® AM/FM/XM/single-CD head unit with a 7-inch touch-screen display.

The Kart: fully functional, ready to race

Subaru designed the Legacy GTk as a fully functional vehicle. The idea was to build a car that would facilitate family racing fun. In this case, the GTk also highlights a motorsport that enables a parent to compete against his/her teenager in the same venue - a rarity in any sport.

Since no trailer would be used, Subaru chose a kart that would not only fit into the cargo area, but would be suitable for a child old enough to ride in the front seat, in compliance with child seating laws. The SCCA Junior Driver kart program offered just that opportunity, its Formula Junior A class specifically intended for the 12-15 age bracket. Built by Coyote Motorsports in Spencerport, N.Y., the XP kart is powered by a Yamaha KT-100 two-stroke engine and can reach up to 50 mph in SCCA Solo racing and up to 120 mph in road racing.

About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru boasts the most fuel efficient line-up of all-wheel drive products sold in the market today based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy standards. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero- landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

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