A new Toyobaru is officially happening. Toyota confirmed in a business release last week that the next generation of the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ sports car is under development.
The pure driver’s car should continue to use a rear-wheel-drive platform. Previous rumors have suggested the car could debut as soon as the Tokyo Auto Show later this month. Expect an improved powertrain — perhaps a version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the Subaru Ascent — but not too improved, to avoid undercutting the Toyota Supra. (Though the Toyobaru could be a compelling option for the Supra enthusiast on a budget.)
Toyota announced the 86/BRZ news as part of a broader expansion of its collaboration with Subaru. As part of this move, Toyota has increased its Subaru holding from 17 percent to 20 percent. Subaru will become an equity affiliate, allowing Toyota to incorporate Subaru’s strong U.S. sales on its income and profit statements. The enhanced partnership should yield further vehicle collaborations like the Crosstrek Hybrid, which uses Toyota’s hybrid engine technology paired with Subaru’s formidable all-wheel-drive system.
Collaboration is also part of Toyota’s broader strategy to survive in an uncertain automotive climate. Expanding partnerships allows Toyota to limit development and production costs for internal combustion cars and have more resources to react to whatever the future market dictates — EVs, hybrids, fuel cell cars or anything else.
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