Subaru and Toyota: What You Need to Know About Their Collaboration

Since the announcement of their partnership ten years ago, Subaru and Toyota have been working together to leverage their strengths, capitalize on their synergies, and create a win-win situation for both brands. On the one hand, Subaru has been able to benefit from Toyota’s financial and engineering resources, innovation, and technology. On the other hand, Toyota has been able to leverage Subaru’s reputation for reliability, sportiness, and safety, and expand its offerings in the niche market of all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive sports cars.

A brief history of Subaru

Subaru Corporation, formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., was founded in 1953 in Japan and is headquartered in Tokyo. Initially, Fuji Heavy Industries was an aircraft manufacturer that supplied parts to the Japanese military during World War II. After the war, the company diversified into manufacturing cars, trucks, and buses. Its first consumer vehicle, the Subaru 360, was introduced in 1958. The name "Subaru" means "unite" or "cluster" in Japanese and refers to the six stars in the Pleiades constellation, which is the symbol of the company.

Subaru’s niche has always been in all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles, which are known for their superior traction, stability, and handling in adverse weather conditions. Over the years, Subaru has also been successful in rallying and motorsports, which has helped to build a loyal and passionate fan base around the world. Some of Subaru’s most popular models include the Outback, Forester, Impreza, WRX, BRZ, and Crosstrek.

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Partnership with Toyota

In 2005, Subaru and Toyota started exploring the possibility of working together on a joint sports car project. The idea was to combine Subaru’s expertise in AWD and rally-inspired performance with Toyota’s know-how in hybrid technology and global marketing. The result was the development and launch of two sports car models, the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86 (or GT86 in some markets), which were co-developed by both companies and share many components and features.

The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 are lightweight, rear-wheel-drive coupes that are designed to provide a fun and engaging driving experience. They are powered by a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine that can produce up to 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. The cars are also available with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and come with features such as a limited-slip differential, sports-tuned suspension, and high-performance brakes.

Structure of Subaru’s ownership

Subaru Corporation is a publicly traded company, and its shares are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Toyota, on the other hand, is a conglomerate that owns multiple subsidiaries and affiliates, including Lexus, Daihatsu, and Hino Motors. Toyota owns around 20% of Subaru’s shares and is the largest shareholder of the company. Other notable shareholders of Subaru include Nissan (with a 1.4% stake) and General Motors (with a 0.8% stake).

Pros and cons of the partnership

The Subaru-Toyota partnership has several advantages for both brands. For Subaru, the collaboration with Toyota has provided access to new markets, technologies, and resources that it might not have had otherwise. It has also helped to improve the quality and reliability of its products, which is crucial in the highly competitive automotive industry.

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For Toyota, the partnership has allowed it to expand into niche markets such as sports cars and AWD vehicles, which are not its main focus. It has also enabled Toyota to learn from Subaru’s expertise in areas such as rally-inspired performance, design, and branding.

However, there are also potential risks and downsides to the partnership. One of the concerns is the dilution of Subaru’s brand identity and uniqueness, as some critics argue that the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 are too similar and lack originality. Another issue is the potential conflict and competition between Subaru and Toyota, as both brands try to differentiate themselves and capture market share in the same segments.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Is Subaru owned by Toyota?
A: No, Subaru is not owned by Toyota, but the two companies have a strategic partnership that includes co-development and sharing of technologies and resources.

Q: What models are co-developed by Subaru and Toyota?
A: Two sports car models, the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86, are co-developed by both companies and share many components and features.

Q: Who is the largest shareholder of Subaru?
A: Toyota is the largest shareholder of Subaru, owning around 20% of the company’s shares.

Q: What are the benefits of the partnership for Subaru and Toyota?
A: The partnership provides access to new markets, technologies, and resources for both brands, and has helped to improve the quality and reliability of their products.

Q: Are there any potential risks or downsides to the partnership?
A: Yes, there are concerns about the dilution of Subaru’s brand identity and the potential conflict and competition between Subaru and Toyota in the same segments.

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In summary, the partnership between Subaru and Toyota has been beneficial for both brands and has allowed them to leverage their strengths and resources to create innovative and exciting products. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 are prime examples of co-development done right, and their success has paved the way for more collaboration between the two companies in the future. While there are potential downsides to the partnership, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks, and the collaboration between Subaru and Toyota is likely to continue and grow in the coming years.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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