The future of the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ sports cars is secure, after the two Japanese car makers announced an extension of their partnership.
New GT86 and BRZ models were in question, given the high costs of sports car development and relatively low sales. The introduction of the Toyota GR Supra, jointly developed with the BMW Z4, also cast a doubt over whether the firm needed two halo cars. However, today’s news secures both the GT86 and BRZ’s existence for the coming decade.
Earlier this year, the companies announced they would jointly develop a dedicated platform for electric vehicles, in a similar vein to Volkswagen's MEB platform, as well as jointly developing an electric SUV that will use Subaru’s all-wheel-drive technology and Toyota’s electrification systems.
This latest announcement includes Toyota increasing its equity stake in Subaru, giving it 20% of voting rights, and Subaru acquiring shares in Toyota. The move has the aim “of further developing and strengthening” the partnership, the firms said.
Toyota and Subaru confirmed that this latest tie-up includes joint development of the new GT86 and BRZ, expanding use of the Toyota’s hybrid system in Subaru models (it's already offered on the Crosstrek/XV in the US) and joint work on connected vehicles and autonomous driving.
The agreemeent will bring together “both companies' strengths to jointly develop all-wheel-drive models that offer the ultimate sensation in all-wheel driving,” said the announcement, adding the two are “in pursuit of making ever-better cars beyond that achieved thus far by Toyota and Subaru”.