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Tokyo show: Subaru BRZ decision by Christmas

Eagerly awaited: Subaru Australia will announce the local future of its BRZ coupe in December.

Subaru Australia to play Santa – or Scrooge – with rear-drive BRZ coupe

30 Nov 2011


THE tantalising rear-drive Subaru BRZ sports coupe might be Subaru Australia’s Christmas gift to Aussie sports car fans this year.

The company has promised a December announcement on the low-cost, pared-back coupe, which – it if does land in Australian showrooms in the second half of 2012 – would require the importer to abandon its well-publicised blanket all-wheel-drive policy.

Speaking to GoAuto at the Tokyo motor where the production BRZ was publicly unveiled today, Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said the importer was sticking with its plan to make a December announcement, probably in the third week.

“All-wheel drive has long been a successful strategy for Subaru, and to move away from that is something you don’t do lightly,” he said.

“If it was a front-wheel drive, we would have said no straight away.”

Mr Senior denied that rumoured sharp pricing for the near-identical Toyota version, the 86, had anything to do with Subaru Australia’s hesitation to add the boxer-engined BRZ coupe to its range in 2012.

2 center imageLeft: Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior.

“No, nothing to do with it,” he said. “We don’t talk about pricing, and we will make a decision regardless.”

Mr Senior said he would be surprised if Toyota Australia announced 86 pricing before Christmas anyway.

He also said the decision had nothing to do with any potential conflict in the Subaru range between the BRZ and WRX/STI performance cars.

“They are different vehicles, appealing to two very different markets,” he said.

Mr Senior said the four-door sedan and five-door hatchback WRX appealed to an older, family oriented market than the BRZ.

He also noted that the turbocharged WRX/STI was closed off to many younger drivers, who instead would be able to drive the normally aspirated, less-powerful BRZ.

And Mr Senior said Toyota’s involvement in the development of the car had nothing to do with any decision to market the BRZ locally.

“It has always been transparently a jointly developed model using the best technologies from both companies, but it is a Subaru through and through,” he said.

“To me, it is a Subaru, and that makes the decision more difficult.”

Mr Senior said the BRZ was designed to bring a younger audience to the Subaru brand, with its low cost and lightweight design.

He said that, in Japan, a generation of youth was into Playstations and computers, and had lost the passion for cars.

“This car is designed to change that,” he said. “If you add turbos and all-wheel drive you get heavier, and it moves away from that.”

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