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Top New Zealand awards for Impreza

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Subaru’s new generation Impreza was the big winner at the Automobile Association (AA) Motoring Excellence Awards, New Zealand’s premier motoring awards.

The Impreza WRX STI spec.R also won the overall Supreme Car of the Year award in Auckland.

Impreza was judged the safest car on New Zealand roads too, with its independent five-star ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) crashworthiness rating for occupant safety and its top four-star pedestrian protection rating.

To be eligible for the awards, all models in a range had to have the same safety specification, which the Impreza meets, from the entry-level 2.0R to the range-topping WRX STI spec.R.

Safety features alone don’t guarantee safety said the AA, “hence the decision to make this award based on crash test results which measure and allow direct comparison of each car on a level playing field.”

All models in the Impreza range come with Vehicle Dynamics Control (electronic stability and traction control), six air bags, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist, and a body with ring shaped reinforcements, as well as front and rear impact crumple zones. All-Wheel Drive is also standard on all models.

In winning the overall award, the Impreza WRX STI also won the Performance Car class, heading off vehicles that cost over NZ$100,000 more than the Subaru.

The Impreza WRX STI was described as “a proper supercar” by the judges. “The grip of this vehicle on the road and track was like a four pawed – five clawed feline clinging to hallway carpet.”

The AA said the latest WRX STI “has softened the rock hard suspension of old without becoming soft. Its range of adjustment offered a practical hatch friendly enough to take the family away for the weekend at one end and an intoxicatingly involving plaything at the other.”

“And it looks the part too with flared arches with their aggressive lines suiting its adrenalin-pumping persona.”

After taking the Performance Car class and the Safety award, Chris Rickards, General Manager, Subaru New Zealand, accepted the overall award.

“This is unbelievable,” he said. “Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru’s parent company) have given us a great product. These are the first awards for the STI internationally. Three in one night is fantastic.”

The Impreza’s safety award is confirmation of Subaru’s commitment to active and passive safety. Every 2008 model Subaru sold in New Zealand – Forester, Legacy (known as Liberty in Australia), Outback and Tribeca – as well as Impreza has constant All-Wheel Drive and five star ANCAP occupant protection safety ratings.

The New Zealand-specification Impreza 2.0R Sport was also recently winner of NZ Autocar/AMI 2008 Compact Car of the Year making it one of the most awarded cars in New Zealand for 2008.

Source: Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

New Forester expands audience

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Subaru has launched its new generation Forester offering economy, safety, style and All-Wheel Drive fun in a more spacious, high value package.

The best-selling vehicle in Subaru’s range is expanding its appeal with a striking new look, clever cabin refinements, enhanced efficiency and comfort.

It is significantly stronger, yet more frugal, offering fuel consumption improvements of up to 7.8 per cent.

In line with the entire Subaru range, Forester achieves a maximum five-star rating for occupant protection in independent crashworthiness testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). It has also gained a three-star pedestrian rating.

Subaru’s safety commitment is again highlighted by the introduction of standard Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) across the Forester range.

The Forester’s All-Wheel Drive recreational credentials are underlined by a 20 mm increase in ground clearance, to 220 mm on Forester X and XS, and 225 mm on turbocharged XT.

Forester X pricing starts from $30,490 recommended retail price.

Forester’s interior space is greater, with rear occupant access and the cargo area notably enhanced.

SPORTSHIFT transmissions are standard in all automatic naturally aspirated Foresters.

The Single Overhead Camshaft (SOHC) four-cylinder 2.5 litre naturally aspirated horizontally opposed boxer engine in Forester X and XS offers a 4.1 per cent power hike and a 1.3 per cent improvement in torque.

In the Double Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) four-cylinder 2.5 litre turbocharged XT, torque kicks in 800 revs lower in the range at 2800 rpm.

Every Forester engine meets strict European STEP4 emission standards.

Newly developed double wishbone rear suspension optimizes Forester’s renowned constant AWD handling, while reducing cargo area intrusion, to produce a wider load carrying space with easier access.

Among new generation Forester highlights:
- Stylish new design with easier occupant and cargo area access
- Vehicle Dynamics Control – five-star ANCAP rating
- Naturally aspirated engines with 4.1 per cent more power, 1.3 per cent more torque
- Turbo engine torque kicks in 400 rpm earlier for enhanced drivability
- All engines more fuel efficient – up to 7.8 per cent on manual XT
- SPORTSHIFT transmissions for all automatic Foresters
- Active Valve Lift System – naturally aspirated engines; XT with Active Valve Control System
- Euro STEP4 emission compliant
- Newly developed double wishbone rear suspension for optimum ride and handling
- Ground clearance improved to 220 mm – 225 mm on XT
- Framed doors for enhanced safety and NVH
- Larger cabin – enhanced comfort – 29 mm more front legroom, 109 mm rear Wider cargo area
- Significant improvements in NVH
- Height and telescopic adjustable steering in all Foresters
- Hill Start Assist (manual variants) – forward and reverse
- Rear seat recline
- Innovative centre console with multiple storage configurations
- Shorter rear overhang
- Subaru Dynamic Chassis Concept – ride comfort, safety and NVH benefits

Source: Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

Fake seat belt to fool police causes death of New Zealand driver

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

A New Zealand driver who used a fake car seat belt to fool police was killed when it failed him in a head-on crash, local media reported recently.

Ivan Segedin refused to wear a seat belt while driving and had been fined 32 times in the past five years for not wearing one, a coroner’s court heard. Segedin, 39, died in a crash on July 22 last year from multiple injuries when his car crossed the road and collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle on North Island, coroner Carla na Negara said.

“Ultimately Mr. Segedin’s actions in driving without a seat belt have cost him his life in an accident that he may well have survived had he worn one,” the New Plymouth Daily News quoted her saying.

Though his car was fitted with seat belts, an extra belt with a long strap had been knotted above the seat belt on the driver’s side, providing a belt to simply sit over the driver’s shoulder, Negara said.

Imported cars face tougher restrictions in New Zealand

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Importing vehicles into New Zealand became that much harder after plans were revealed for even tougher restrictions on new car imports to ensure they comply with current international vehicle emission standards.

Associate Transport Minister Judith Tizard said the Government vehicles must meet the European and Japanese vehicle emission standards within two years of a standards being adopted in those countries.

The draft rule would set out a series of steadily increasing standards that used vehicles would have to meet for entry to New Zealand, and may be ready to be implemented this year.

“In addition higher quality vehicles will also help to improve the fuel economy of the country’s fleet and improve vehicle safety,” Ms Tizard said.

Mitsubishi to close plant in Australia in March

Friday, February 8th, 2008

A Mitsubishi executive said that Japanese auto maker’s Australian plant will be closed, with the loss of 930 jobs.

Mitsubishi Australia President Rob McEniry total working that their plant in Adelaide would close in March. McEniry said production of Galant would be discontinued and the company would sell only imported vehicles in Australia.

aThe decision was forced on the company by a series of issues, including accumulated losses of $1.36 billion over the past 10 years. He said the company had also struggled to sell Galant in a declining market for big cars, while the impact of exchange rates on exports had also been severe.