So what does it mean to European drivers if Toyota and Subaru are starting to get closer and will soon start colaborating to build cars together?

Optimists might well reckon the Toyota connection will do something about Subaru’s generally woeful design and fuel economy – long since the two major weaknesses for car’s wearing the Subaru badge. Which would be a good thing, surely?

On the other hand, Subaru seems to be becoming slowly but surely entwined within the empire of Toyota, a far larger company. For a firm that has based so much of its appeal on individuality and going its own way, that’s a considerable risk.

There’s particular interest in Japan at the news that Subaru will be sharing its prized boxer engine with Toyota for the new rear-drive “Toyobaru” sports coupe that the two companies are jointly developing – something that has really raised eyebrows.