There's no questioning that Toyota dominates the hybrid vehicle segment. So of course Subaru wants to ditch Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology in favor of its in-house-developed mild hybrid system for the automaker's first-ever hybrid vehicle.

According to Just Auto and contrary to expectations, that's the route Subaru will reportedly follow with its scheduled-to-launch-in-2013 hybrid vehicle. The model has not been named, but the new hybrid will most likely be the Legacy and will launch in Japan. Some reports continue to speculate that either the Impreza or Legacy will be first in line to get the gas-electric tech here in the States in 2014.

Back in 2009, Subaru displayed the Hybrid Tourer, a project it worked on with Toyota, at the Tokyo Motor Show. That concept, which never made it to production, used a direct injected version of Subaru's 2.0-liter turbo boxer engine. Maybe Subaru's classic "hybrids are not worth the money" video was more descriptive of the company's mindset than anyone knew.
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just-auto Exclusively Reveals Subaru's "go it Alone" Strategy on Hybrid Technology

BROMSGROVE, England, September 29, 2011/PRNewswire/ --

Sources at Subaru have told automotive business web site just-auto.com that the company has decided - contrary to expectations - not to buy-in Toyota's full hybrid HSD system for future Subaru hybrid models, but to develop its own mild hybrid system instead.

The news is a big surprise as it had been widely expected that Subaru would benefit not only from Toyota's manufacturing expertise but also its industry leading hybrids capability and production base for hybrid components.

Now, a Subaru executive - speaking anonymously to just-auto - has confirmed that the company will launch a hybrid model in Japan in 2013, as indicated in Subaru's "Motion-V" strategic plan for 2011 to 2015.

However, Subaru's upcoming hybrid will not utilise the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system mated to an existing Subaru boxer engine. Instead, Subaru's stubbornly independent engineers have created a Honda-style mild hybrid, without the ability to run solely on electric power at low speeds.

It is likely that the Subaru hybrid model to be launched in Japan in 2013 will be a version of the Legacy D-segment four-door saloon. But Subaru of America had not yet decided which model should launch the hybrid in the US (which is the world's largest hybrid market).


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      winc06
      • 3 Years Ago
      You wonder what a small car company is to do. Undoubtedly the Toyota tech was too expensive not to mention the deleterious effect on traditional Subaru performance. A small company cannot drag along a large company with licensing fees. They need to develop their own tech, but even then lots of production is needed to pay for the R&D. A mild hybrid, as the Honda system is frequently described would not be horrible. I had hoped that an AWD car company would go the route of front engine FWD and electric RWD, but there may not be much wiggle room inside of the Peugeot patents.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @winc06
        I would think Parent Company Toyota, would or should wave all patent fees for their tech. If they've bought Subaru, then they wanted Subaru Sales, and Subaru Profits, and a larger Subaru Market Share. They should be doing everything possible to increase Subaru sales. So, it's a question to management, to justify this decision, as it hurts Subaru Sales. The Hybrid system's R&D are "sunk costs" and that gives you justification to waive them. Expanding the application of the Prius system lowers unit costs.
          skierpage
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Toyota doesn't make a smaller AWD hybrid system and shows no sign of doing so except perhaps the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II. Their RX450h, LS600h, and Highlander Hybrid are all bigger, and their multiple HSD transmissions can't just be lashed to Subaru's boxer engines.
      danwat1234
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't wait for Subaru to start making a hybrid version of their Outback, Forester and WRX! Imagine the MPG increase, we could actually see 30MPG in a WRX now. They'd need to go with Direct Injection too to bump MPG up enough I think.
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      With a mild hybrid, expect mild sales.
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      Honda's system isn't so bad, as long as it's got a big Lithium battery[ Honda Civic Hybrid ]. But, they should be looking at Honda Sales. They've not been as big as Toyota's, because they're not as close to Toyota's MPG. I'd say Toyota's Million Sales should be more of an influence as to how you design your system.
        upstategreenie
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        japanese cos. ONCE AGAIN are paying price for climate change as honda said they literally have no civics now due to thailand floods.....which I am sure will somehow be skewed by denialists somehow....just wait for it.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Honda's system is less expensive, and to improve it you only need to increase the capacity of the electric motor and/or the battery. Still, if the Chinese and US economies recover, they may regret not having Big Prius Like Hybrid Numbers.
          uncle_sam
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          They did with the 2012 civic hybrid. with the liion battery this thing runns much better.
      SurfWRaX
      • 3 Years Ago
      To a certain segment of Subaru buyers, the strong or mild hybrid version probably doesn't matter. They just want that "Hybrid" label on their Subaru so they feel green while driving to their local trailhead. Basically it will keep people that are loyal to Subaru from fleeing to other brands to get a Hybrid, but I doubt it will bring in too many first time Subaru buyers.
        upstategreenie
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SurfWRaX
        you are right. I have a brand new prius. but I do like subarus and would consider one if they had a hybrid. I wrote the company a letter before I bought my prius asking why they don't yet have a hybrid. rssponse was something about market demographic and that they are working on it. also boxer engine is old tech..but they do feel very comfortable and sporty... mild hybrid isn't cutting it..though...paying extra five grand for little label... they are partial zero emissions though, so they are trying a lot harder than some other truck cos. can't call any american co. a car co. when a hemi or f 150 is their main seller. it is like calling what they sell at mcds 'food'....kind of a misnomer or false advertising.
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SurfWRaX
        STFU. I drive a Subaru, and I hate that the car engine continues to run at a stoplight, and that the car throws away energy going downhill and when I brake. It's about Subaru making less primitive cars with better mpg. The Lineartronic CVT has given Subaru competitive mpg, particularly in the upcoming 2012 Impreza (the previous years' models had awful mpg). Subaru is lucky that big companies don't focus on efficient AWD: Audi doesn't sell A3 quattro diesels in the USA, Toyota hasn't updated its complicated AWD HSDs for a while, the Ford C-Max Escape hybrid replacement may not be AWD, etc, But car engineering doesn't stand still, and eventually bigger car companies will bring some combination of full hybrids, plug-in, and through-the-road to the AWD car market. What's happening with the Subaru R1e electric minicar and G4e compact?