Toyota and Subaru to Jointly Develop Sports Car

By Chris Haak

08.10.2007

Toyota, a company not famous for performance vehicles (in fact, the company no longer sells any sports cars, now that it has discontinued the MR-S sports car in Japan), is rumored to be co-developing a small sports car with Subaru for sale in Japan, according to the Japanese Asahi newspaper. The new car would be branded as a Toyota and will have an engine smaller than 2 liters. It will be priced at less than 2 million yen ($16,900) in Japan.

Details about the car are still cloudy at this point, including whether the car will feature Subaru-specific technology such as a horizontally-opposed engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive powertrain. While all-wheel drive seems to be a possibility, the boxer engine does not, as that might take away from Subaru’s uniqueness and quirkiness.

Toyota and Fuji Heavy Industries (the parent company of Subaru) have been allied since GM sold its stake in Fuji Heavy Industries in 2005, and Toyota bought 8.7% of the company to gain access to additional US production capacity and jointly develop models. Subaru is building Toyota Camrys at its factory in Indiana and has already benefited from Toyota’s manufacturing expertise through the venture. Let’s hope that the jointly-developed sports car can combine the best of both companies.

The car is expected to hit the market in 2010, although both companies declined to comment on future product plans.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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4 Comments

  1. Yeah, let’s hope it the best of both companies instead of the worst. Both Toyota and Subaru have forgettable styling and below-average performance handling.

  2. I’d say that Subaru has polarizing styling – not necessarily forgettable – while Toyota has pretty bland styling. However, in my opinion, the WRX and STi show that Subaru is quite capable of building performance cars that handle well. Not to say they aren’t out there, but I don’t recall reviews of Subaru products complaining about their handling. The boxer engines have a lower center of gravity than their inline counterparts, and standard all-wheel drive certainly helps rather than hurts.

  3. If I’m not mistaken the car in question is supposed to be a response to the recent overwhelming Stateside interest in the AE86 Corolla/Trueno RWD hatchback (otherwise known as the Hachi-Roku).

    I don’t know that they’re looking to match the drifting aspects of that car (Ralph Nader might have something to say about that); rather, I bet they’re looking at a specific price point (mid-20s), age group (mid-30s) and aftermarket appeal (perhaps a good trackday car?).

    I know because of the names involved there’s all this speculation about sharing of technology. I just wanted to point out that there might not be any powertrain sharing at all, but there’s a far greater chance that it’ll be built alongside Camrys and Legacies at the Indiana plant.

    Could it be a Scion? Could it be a WRC contender? Could it be crap? We’ll have to see.

  4. Hopefully it won’t be crap, hopefully Toyota will put it considerable might against the task of making a performance car, and even more hopefully, maybe they’ll let some of their young designers in CA take a crack at the looks because their usual work is kind of a drag visually.

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