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Subaru Forester Performs Best Among Small SUVs in Insurance Institute Side Impact Crash Tests

CHERRY HILL, N.J., June 18 -- Subaru of America, Inc., the only car company that offers symmetrical all-wheel drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line, today announced the 2003 Subaru Forester earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) highest rating in the most recent series of side impact crash tests. Subaru Forester is the only vehicle of the 12 small sport-utility vehicles tested, that earned the IIHS' highest rating in both the side impact crashworthiness evaluation and 40 m.p.h. frontal offset crash tests.

"The performance of the Subaru Forester, which was the only small SUV to earn a double `Good' in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new side impact crash test and its frontal offset test, demonstrates what can be accomplished when a manufacturer makes safety a priority," said IIHS President, Brian O'Neill.

In the IIHS new side impact test, vehicles are struck in the side by a deformable barrier moving at 30 miles per hour. Based on the results of this test, the Institute assigns each vehicle a rating of good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on how well the vehicle protected the dummies seated in the driver's and rear passenger's seats and how well the integrity of the structure was maintained. The Institute's side impact test is especially demanding of a vehicle's structure, as a relatively small area of the vehicle's side is required to manage the crash energy. This is the third consecutive "good" rating for Forester.

"The Institute's findings demonstrate our dedication to providing our owners with the latest advancements in safety technology that further enhance occupant safety," said T.K. Saito, chairman, president and CEO, Subaru of America, Inc. "We are pleased to say that all 2003 model year Subaru vehicles tested by the IIHS including the 2003 Forester, Legacy and Impreza have earned the Institute's highest rating as well as the `best pick' distinction in frontal crashes."

Completely redesigned for the 2003 model year, Forester models include numerous standard safety features including a dual-stage deployment passenger front airbag, standard front seat head/chest side-impact airbags, standard active front seat head restraints and front seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters. Front and rear crumple-zone body construction absorbs impact energy to help protect the reinforced passenger compartment, while the Subaru- designed Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame ties together the side sills, center pillars and roof supports for added rigidity. A hydro-formed front subframe provides additional structural rigidity while eliminating the need for added weight.

All 2004 Forester models benefit from a standard four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock braking system (ABS) for more confident, controlled stopping power. A safety brake pedal system designed to yield during a serious frontal impact to help reduce injury to the driver's lower limbs, comes standard on all 2004 Forester models.

In addition to passive safety features, all 2004 Subaru vehicles are equipped with standard active safety features including symmetrical all-wheel drive, four-channel anti-lock brakes, long travel suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes that provide Subaru owners with exceptional traction, handling and control.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered near Philadelphia, the company markets and distributes all-wheel drive Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru is the only car company that offers symmetrical all-wheel drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line. Subaru has been the best- selling import wagon in America for the past 20 years, based on R.L. Polk & Company new vehicle retail registration statistics for calendar year-end 2002.