Japanese automakers Subaru and Daihatsu have released details of updated models equipped with improved safety technologies in Japan.
IHS Markit perspective
- Significance: Daihatsu has released a refreshed Move Canbus minivehicle in Japan, while Subaru plans to begin sales of the updated Impreza and BRZ sports car in Japan from next month.<
- Implications: Almost all key automakers in Japan, including Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, and Suzuki, have introduced a number of refreshed models in the country recently. Among a host of cosmetic changes, key upgrades in the models include advanced safety technology as standard equipment.
- Outlook: The recent move by the key automakers not only forms a part of their intention to keep their models competitive, but also corresponds to stricter regulations to make the vehicles safer in the country.
Japanese automakers Subaru and Daihatsu have released details of updated models in Japan on their websites today (11 September). Key changes include adoption of next-generation safety technologies in the vehicles.
Subaru has released details of updates of the Impreza car and the BRZ sports car in Japan. The models are scheduled to go on sale in the country from 5 October. Key updates in the Impreza include improved safety features such as addition of new side-view monitor function under EyeSight Safety Plus and automatic brake function. Features such as nighttime pedestrian recognition have been improved. Separately, the BRZ sports car has received minor refinements in the form of improved body rigidity by reinforcing parts around the vehicle, and the addition of welcome lighting and one-touch function of direction indicator. The model is available in a total of five trims ‒ the R Custom Package, RA Racing, R, S, and GT ‒ all powered by a 2-litre horizontally opposed 4-cylinder DOHC engine. The R, S, and GT variants feature six-manual transmission (MT) and automatic transmission, while the remaining two variants come with an automatic transmission.
The automaker aims to sell 3,000 units of the Impreza and 200 units of the BRZ per month in the country. The price of the Impreza has been kept at between JPY1.94 million (USD17,952) and JPY2.61 million, while the BRZ sports is priced at JPY2.43‒3.37 million.
Meanwhile, Daihatsu has begun sales of the refreshed Move Canbus minivehicle at all its domestic dealerships today. As part of the improvement, the vehicle now features the Smart Assist III collision avoidance support system as standard. Emergency brakes and panorama monitor are also available in some grades. The automaker has kept the price range of the model at between JPY1.18 million and JPY1.66 million.
Outlook and implications
To maintain their competitive edge, automakers in Japan are steadily rolling out safety features as standard equipment in their models. Over the last few months, all key Japanese automakers, including Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Mazda, and Nissan, have launched updated models in the country.
Prior to this, Subaru began sales of the updated Levorg and WRX S4 models in Japan during July. Key changes in the models include the adoption of the Smart Assist III collision-avoidance assist system as standard. The models have been upgraded with a "panoramic view monitor" to extend the driver's cognisance of his or her surroundings. The automaker has equipped all variants of the Levorg and WRX S4 with its EyeSight safety system with Touring Assist as standard. The system has been upgraded with a front-view monitor to extend the driver's cognisance of his or her surroundings. The Japanese-specification models also feature the automaker's first automatic braking system to counteract instances of accidental acceleration. In May, the automaker released several revamped models in the country, featuring its advanced safety technologies as standard equipment, including the recent Stella, Stella Custom, and Pleo Plus minivehicles.
The recent move by the automakers not only forms part of their intention to keep models competitive, but also corresponds to stricter regulations to make vehicles safer in the country. In January, Japan's transport ministry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, was reportedly planning to make automatic braking systems mandatory for new cars and light-duty trucks. The report cited unnamed officials from the ministry, who added that Japan will hold open discussions with other members of the United Nations working group on finalising international safety standards for automatic brakes in cars, as it seeks to make these mandatory in all cars in Japan to curb accidents. The report added that an expert panel on the proposed standards will be set up in September this year. Unifying the standards will lower the development costs of automakers that are already developing such systems. Japanese OEMs complying with the standards will also find it easier to sell their vehicles in markets such as Europe. Globally, international performance standards for automatic braking systems of large vehicles such as buses and heavy-duty trucks are already in place. Japan began shifting to mandatory automatic braking on large vehicles in 2014. In January, the Japanese authorities announced plans to introduce a series of safety standards for self-driving vehicles. The most commonly found advanced safety systems currently include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and forward-collision warning.
According to IHS Markit light-vehicle data, Japanese sales of Subaru's Impreza will reach 53,259 units in 2017 (up from 29,008 units in the previous year), and the BRZ will reach 2,074 units (down from 1,823 units in 2016). We expect Japanese sales of Daihatsu's Move Canbus to total 82,881 units in 2017, up from 29,053 units in 2016.
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