Subaru planning modular platform, seven-seat SUV, plug-in hybrid

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn't the only big name in the auto industry releasing details on its future plans. Subaru, and its parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, is aiming to bump its North American sales up from 478,000 to 600,000 by 2020. Now, that seems pretty reasonable, especially in the face of FCA's hugely ambitious goals for Alfa Romeo and Maserati. It's how Subaru will go about increasing the sales, though, that has us intrigued.

A focus on more fuel-efficient, direct-injection engines will complement a new platform, while the company is contemplating expanding capacity at its Indiana factory, which will now have more room since Toyota Camry production will be ending there.

As for that new platform, it's called the Subaru Global Platform. Original, we know. It's a modular deal and will eventually underpin a vast range of future Subies following its debut in 2016. The new platform may also end up underpinning a seven-seat SUV, which would serve as the successor to the Tribeca and debut between 2016 and 2020, according to Automotive News.

The direct-injected engines, meanwhile, would debut around roughly the same time as the new Tribeca. Cylinder deactivation could also appear, while AN reports that thermal efficiency is being given a big look, which could hint at an Atkinson-cycle engine powering future vehicles. A plug-in hybrid is also a very strong possibility, which also lends credence to AN's theory on the Atkinson cycle. While this focus on efficiency and emissions is admirable, it won't go so far as to disrupt the brand's heritage – Subaru has given no indication that it's ditching its trademark boxer engines.

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