Subaru is walking away from minicars. According to Just-Auto.com, parent company Fuji Heavy Industries is looking to concentrate its efforts small and mid-sized vehicles moving forward. While Japan still enjoys a thriving kei car market, the vehicles aren't as profitable as their larger counterparts and require the same level of engineering commitment. Fuji will focus on the company's drivetrain development as well as improving vehicle safety with the cash it saves from creating new minicars.

Nissan and Mitsubishi, meanwhile, have committed to a joint venture to create a new kei car that should hit the market sometime soon, and Honda routinely uses its minicar segment as a testbed for large vehicle technologies.

Will the pint-sized Subaru models be missed? Our heart strings are still ringing over the loss of the Justy here in the states.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Joe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Subaru hasn't designed or built their own a kei car for about a year... since 2009 there's been a slow roll-out of rebadged Daihatsus in the kei market for Subaru, the last true Subaru model being the Stella, replacing a Subaru design with a rebadged Daihatsu Move last spring. The only remnant of small Subaru design still available is the Sambar van, which dates back to 1999... This isn't really news. If they plan to fully exit the market, it would be a bad move considering sales in the kei market are at a high.
        breakfastburrito
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joe
        Japanese car buyers, especially in big cities, are aware of the Daihatsu rebadging, and are brand conscious. When in Kobe, I was surprised to see an all-Nissan street, and asked about it. People were aware of Nissan's business dealings with the city, and felt inclined to support the brand. That sense of community is sorely lacking in America.
      haji
      • 2 Years Ago
      Justy is not a K car. Believe it or not, Ks are even smaller.
      dinobot666
      • 2 Years Ago
      You could have at least finished this post AB. This is actually pretty old news, but to summarize for you, basically Toyota owns a stake in Subaru and Subaru wants to focus its efforts on Impreza and up sized cars and Toyota already owns a small car developer Daihatsu (that's who!) that will produce Kei sized cars for Subaru. So, Subaru isn't walking away from Kei cars, they're just having Daihatsu deign, engineer them and build them for Subaru. A fancy way of saying they'll be a rebadge.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dinobot666
        [blocked]
      subaru360nut
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've been driving a 1970 Subaru 360 van for 37 years, still drive it every day and get 45 mpg. The way gas prices are going we will all need kei cars except the one-percenters.
      Soul Shinobi
      • 2 Years Ago
      While I've read it's true that Toyota had a hand in this, I doubt the motive is eliminating competition from Subaru in the segment. Toyota had stated a while ago that Subaru's kei devision was highly unprofitable for them and needed to be brought to a halt.
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's fine, they aren't the kind of quirky kei cars we usually think of. I'd much rather have a better, perhaps cost subsidized, WRX.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        ZOZ
        • 2 Years Ago
        I hope you put your money where your mouth is!
      ZOZ
      • 2 Years Ago
      God thanks; I hope all of the others follow. These stupid golf cart are not for the streets/roads!
        brian
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ZOZ
        Try venturing outside your county sometime... I lived in Japan for two years and those little Kei cars are perfect for narrow streets and small parking spaces there and other parts of the world such as Caribbean and South Pacific islands where fuel is costly and what a person drives isn't a substitute for what you wish you had between your legs.
        breakfastburrito
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ZOZ
        still cracks me up, the silly kids in big trucks feeling invincible... doesn't matter what vehicle you're in when the suck happens. http://www.clublexus.com/forums/car-chat/256925-hummer-rear-ends-school-bus-pic.html
      Stinkyboy
      • 2 Years Ago
      That looks like the 2013 Chevy Aveo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Stinkyboy
        [blocked]
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      If AB did more than just regurgitate the news that some other site researched, they would have posted probably the MAIN reason for this move - namely that Toyota, which owns a chunk of Subaru's parent company, entered the Kei car segment about 6 months ago. Why compete against the products of the company you are partially owned by?
        ravenosa
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        If you think that's Toyota's thinking behind this, then why does the Toyobaru coupe exist? If anything, it would make more sense to do a joint platform, not unlike what Ford/Mazda, Nissan/Mitsu and others have done...
          Hazdaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ravenosa
          I don't even think Toyota's entry in the Kei segment is totally their own. Unless I am mistaken, I think Daihatsu or Suzuki are somehow involved in Toyota's cars. Why should Subaru bother competing in this (fairly low-margin) segment when even its much, much, much richer parent company had to partner with someone else? If anything, I might expect to see a Subaru rebadge of a Toyota Kei car that is partially based on someone else's design in maybe 6 to 12 months. But Subaru going it alone in this segment doesn't make much sense to me.
        gary
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        Then why does Subaru exist at all? Other than the WRX/STi, isn't ever Subaru model in a segment in which Toyota also competes? I'm taking the reasoning at face value here. Subaru's profits are coming almost entirely from markets other than Japan. With limited R&D funds, why continue to develop low-margin Kei cars which have little market potential outside of Japan?
          Hazdaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gary
          Since when does Toyota offer AWD? Since when does Toyota have a reputation for fun cars? Since when does Toyota offer boxer engines (besides the new FT86 of course)? Subaru has all three. There is more than enough distinction between the two brands to sell both lines. I think the 2nd part of your post answered exactly why Subaru shouldn't bother with a Kei. But like I posted above, I wouldn't be that surprised if - after Toyota establishes itself in that segment - that Subaru then gets a version of Toyota's Kei.... let the much richer parent company handle the burden of developing the car (and Toyota probably even had another automaker help them that is already strong in the segment, like Diahatsu), and then Subaru can just rebadge it. Basically the opposite situation of the BRZ/FT-86.
      rsholland
      • 2 Years Ago
      Being a small company, with limited resources, Subaru needs to find ways to meet growing worldwide demand for their products. If this frees up brainpower and production capacity, then great. Will I miss Subaru Kei cars? No, as they've never been sold here.
      KeiCarLvr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Noooo I liked the R1! Oh well…
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