DETROIT -- Subaru unveiled a concept version of its Legacy sedan Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in celebration of the car's 20th year on the road in the U.S.
The Legacy concept, which Subaru said hints at the production model's future look, features sharper design lines, all-wheel drive and a larger wheelbase designed to increase interior space.
"Sometimes, people seem to forget that we've been making sedans for a long time," Tom Doll, executive vice president for Subaru of America Inc., told reporters before officially taking the wraps off the vehicle.
Subaru of America this month reported its U.S. sales rose 0.3 percent in 2008, helped by strong demand for its Impreza and top-Forester models. The Forester was named sport utility vehicle of the year last fall by Motor Trend magazine.
Subaru was the only full-line automaker to post a year-over-year sales increase in the U.S. last year, when the economic meltdown helped knock industrywide sales down 18 percent. Doll said the sales performance gave the company reason to celebrate.
"This is a tribute to both our products and to the dedication and passion of our outstanding retail sales network," Doll said.
Doll said Subaru benefited from luring buyers who wanted to move away from large SUVs but didn't want to give up the performance that comes from the all-wheel drive vehicles in the company's lineup.
Subaru sold 187,699 vehicles in the U.S. in 2008, compared with 187,208 in 2007. Sales of its Impreza model also climbed, offsetting double-digit sales declines of its Outback wagon and Tribeca SUV.