• Apr 12, 2007
Winding Road is reporting that a recent change in Japan's anti-trust regulations might mean that Toyota has a clear shot at acquiring a controlling interest in Fujji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru. Lest you think this might be some pie-in-the-sky notion, Subaru admits it could use the help. Toyota already has an 8.7% minority share in Subaru's parent company. With the changes in restrictions, Toyota could make a move and gobble up Subaru and all of its awd motorsports prowess.

TheCarConnection
interviewed Subaru CEO Ikuo Mori, who basically admitted that Subaru might not be long for this world without Toyota's cash infusion. That doesn't mean we'd see badge engineering between the brands anytime soon, however. This wouldn't be like its partnership with GM according to the spokesperson. No 9-7X-like crossover projects are expected, but changes are in the works. Subaru apparently has set its sights on Southern California as a new focal point for the future of the company. And some extra cash would certainly help Subaru achieve its goal of increasing worldwide sales by 15% over the next three years.

[Source: Winding Road]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Get a clue, people. Toyota isn't buying Subaru to be nice and let them eat up their cash. They know that Subaru's business model is unworkable and Subie will die without radical change.

      As soon as Toyota buys Subaru, they will absorb it into the Borg. Boxers are gone, as are independent platforms. The Impreza becomes an AWD Corolla; the Legacy/Outback an AWD Camry and the Forrester an AWD Rav4.

      Dead Subie Walking.
      • 7 Years Ago
      #14

      Toyota is ordinary amd is as fun as shopping for a fridge or a washing machine.

      People, not Toyota, are bland and boring.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Maybe I'm too pessimistic, but I ponder if it could be the beginning of the end for Subaru in the long-term, following a path similar to Hino? I spotted a French article about Hino at
      http://www.leblogauto.com/2006/12/tiroirs-de-l%E2%80%99insolite-hino-alpine.html (you need Google translation or Alta-vista to translate from French to English)
      • 7 Years Ago
      #2. You're spot on. Toyota knows how to build inoffensive very well. Subaru’s engineering is top notch, their design is no better than Toyotas. I guess inoffensive Subarus wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I fear that they would also make the suspension "innofensive" as well in the sake of saving a buck as Toyota tends to do, next thing you know they'll lose the Boxer engines and go with a cheaper to produce V6 in the name of cost savings, which will say bye-bye to the symmetrical AWD, which will introduce torque steer and unpredictability. The engineers at Subaru are smart, smarter than the bean counters at toyota. Their designers are the ones that need to be put out to pasture. And as many people bash the new hatch WRX, when I saw it in NYC last weekend, all I could think was that if I couldn’t have my BMW 1 series hatch, this is the closest I was going to come. Yes, they could have done better with the grill and the taillights with all of its faux-bling. But that sheet metal is gorgeous.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with turbofrog. We're not giving toyota enough credit. They know they're boring and they know boring is what MOST people want. They also know they need interesting cars for the rest of us.

      Why would they buy subaru simply to turn it into a toyota competitor by making them boring? Toyota may be many things, but they are NOT stupid.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Toyota TRD team won the Australian Rally Championship in 2006 with a Corolla running 1994-1998 Celica GT4 drivetrain/engine - beating out the latest Subaru's and Mitsubishi's.

      It's not like Toyota need to be shown how to make a AWD drivetrain.
      • 7 Years Ago
      re:27 Good post Jeffrey. That makes a lot more sense. Subaru would be a considerable asset to Toyota just for the battery technology alone. The further gain is the factory and Subaru could certainly give Toyota another facet as just being a family car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Going by the majority of these posts, there are plenty of Subaru owners here. Either that or they talk but don't buy enough of them to be profitable. Fuji also makes airplanes and even modular buildings.. Toyota makes modular buildings as well and one may assume Toyota bought the entire company for more then the cars. Unfortunately Toyota is doing the same as their NA counterpart. Ford & GM were buying up evrything they could lay their hands off. Even selling them off again, may have not been a gain.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hopefully they do, I want Toyota to succeed, considering I own one! ! I went to NJ Toyota and they gave me a great deal. Check out their website at http://www.1800autoland.com/
      • 7 Years Ago
      Woot, i really mistyped up there, I meant "I see this as a good thing".
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would rather see Porsche buy Subaru - that would be cool.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't know... This could go either way.

      Subaru is nailing it's own coffin with ugly designs, lack of support, lack of marketing, and HUGE lack of options. But their chassis design, and inherent AWD Boxer-engined platform is sound, and has great potential.

      With money, subaru could turn it around, and bring their designs back up. However, their American headquarters in New Jersey needs to be brought in line. Compare the Legacy/Outback lineup in North America to all the other markets, and you will see what I mean. Tribeca is a US-target product, and the WRX is built in Japan, with less involvement from Subaru's american arm.

      OR, with Toyota's control, the integrity of Subaru could be compromized in search of market growth.

      The 08 WRX is severely handicapped by trying to play "me too" in the hatchback game, when it has AWD, and a Turbo WRX and STI (coming) variant that play in tougher segments. The soft econobox "corolla-esque" styling will not, and is not playing well there. More of that from the master-of-bland Toyota, and Subaru will die regardless.

      Subaru is harder-core and more sporty than Scion, but could learn a few customer-relations lessons from Scion. Subaru is not just a toyota competitor. It offers something different, and much more enthusiast-centered.

      Money infusion would be good. The wrong decisions on Toyota OR Subaru's part, regardless of the money, could be lethal to Subaru at this point.

      Andy Why southern california? Subarus aren't hot-rod culture cars, even though some are fast, Why not somewhere farther north, where AWD Subarus sell better? (and avoid the costs associated with doing business in the People's Republic of California.)

      People in LA don't drive subarus, by and large. They drive more expensive, and less practical cars, if at all possible. How about new england, The upper midwest, or the northwest? somewhere where value, quality and AWD are useful. And performance is still asked for, as well.
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