Friday, August 10, 2007

Toyota and Subaru to Jointly Develop Sports Car

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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