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Subaru Officially Joins Toyota Group, What It Means For New Outback And Forester Models

Subaru has officially joined the Toyota group. What does it mean for Subaru nameplates like the 2020 Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and Ascent?


Subaru Corporation officially joined the Toyota Motor group according to a filing made in Japan today. Toyota increased its stake in Subaru Corporation from 16.83 percent to 20 percent which means a strengthening of their ties. The announcement was made last September, and a report from Nippon in Japan revealed it is now official.

What will the expanded partnership mean for Subaru models like the 2020 Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and Ascent?

This is what won’t happen. Subaru will not be absorbed into Toyota Motor and become a fully owned subsidiary at least not in the immediate future. But Seeking Alpa says Subaru is expected to become “an affiliated company of Toyota down the road.” They won’t be building more vehicles together that will share identical styling but have different nameplates like the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 sport coupes. But big changes are coming to Subaru.

2020 Subaru OutbackExisting Subaru models like 2020 Outback will be getting hybrid power

What it will mean is Toyota’s larger stake will create new opportunities for the much smaller Subaru with its existing models and new models will be coming. Subaru announced recently, by 2030, 40 percent of all Subaru global sales will come from electric vehicles (EVs) or hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). By the first half of the 2030s, all Subaru vehicles sold worldwide will have some form of hybrid power or all-electric technology. Subaru will need Toyota’s hybrid technology to do this.

What does the increased Toyota stake mean for SUV shoppers?

The newly-increased partnership will bring more new all-wheel-drive models like the Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid launched last year. Subaru will be able to expand the use of the Toyota Hybrid System in other Subaru models like the Outback, Forester, and Ascent models.

2020 Subaru ForesterThe Subaru Forester will keep its unique identity

Both Subaru and Toyota believe this increased stake will help them build better automobiles for their customers. Subaru says, "In this once-in-a-century period of profound transformation, by strengthening our bonds and aligning capabilities, we aim to make ever-better cars, better than what either company has been able to achieve thus far.”

More changes are coming as Subaru will also collaborate with Toyota to develop its first all-electric all-wheel-drive vehicle for release sometime around 2030. This all-new vehicle will be distinctively a Subaru.

Watch this video report discussing the benefits of keeping your old Subaru Outback vs buying the 2020 model and click to subscribe to Torque News for daily automotive news analysis.

Subaru models will be different from Toyota

Subaru President Tomomi Nakamura says they will strive to remain “different from (Toyota)”, and will further hone the distinctive qualities that make a Subaru a Subaru and will “maintain the unique attributes our customers have come to expect.” Those core values are all-wheel-drive, a rugged “go-anywhere” attitude, fun-to-drive, and safety will remain a priority.

Some things won’t be changing for Subaru, but the expanded Toyota partnership will bring an all-electric all-wheel vehicle that will arrive by the end of this decade. Big changes are coming to existing nameplates like the 2020 Outback wagon, Forester compact SUV, and Ascent family hauler models. They will be electrified with hybrid or plug-in hybrid technology by the first half of the 2030s.

You Might Also Like: The New 2021 Subaru Complete Model Change Preview

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Dolan Halbrook (not verified)    February 10, 2020 - 12:15PM

I'm pretty sure that Toyota will ensure you don't see any Subaru models that compete with the RAV4 Prime, so you can kiss your dreams of an Outback or Forester PHEV goodbye for a while.

Dlkitchenjr (not verified)    February 10, 2020 - 1:54PM

By 2030 BEV will be the primary consumer demanded drivetrain for almost all passenger vehicles. Subaru and Toyota will be dinosaurs by then if they are by 2030 just getting Hybrid let alone BEV vehicles into their product lineup. Goodbye Japanese engineering prowess!

John Goreham    February 10, 2020 - 2:32PM

In reply to by Dlkitchenjr (not verified)

Toyota sells more green vehicles today than any other automaker. Toyota has had the top-selling affordable (Sub $35K) electric vehicle in America for years. Toyota had a BEV RAV4 in California before Tesla was incorporated. But you are certain Toyota is doomed within 9 model years in a world trending towards green cars?

Darren (not verified)    February 11, 2020 - 7:53PM

In reply to by Mark (not verified)

I respectfully disagree with you. I believe most personal vehicles will be at least a hybrid. But I can’t see heavy equipment and commercial vehicle being able to comply by then.

jihadjoe (not verified)    February 11, 2020 - 7:42AM

In reply to by Arthur Fernandes (not verified)

The Subaru CVTs, especially for their FA20 turbo models have been pretty good. I rather hope the opposite happens and Toyota starts using Subaru's CVT.

OTOH, the engine orientation of the their engines are usually different, so maybe things will just stay as they are.

blah blah (not verified)    January 8, 2021 - 6:40PM

In reply to by Derek (not verified)

Just wrecked a 2008 Sentra with their early CVT, it worked fine at 176k. Subaru Justy was a test platform for CVTs. Pretty sure CVTs can be reliable, after all these years of development. How long ago did you work at the Scooby dealer?

Paul Beining (not verified)    February 10, 2020 - 2:48PM

I'm wondering what Toyota hopes to gain from the pairing. Obviously they can make money selling their hybrid technology to Suburu, but Suburus already use Toyota's hybrid system. Will Toyota be utilizing Suburu's AWD technology, which is often considered the best in the world? Perhaps that's already the case. Perhaps the RAV4 is already running Suburu's AWD system. I'm not sure. In any case, I consider the RAV4 more attractive with Suburu's AWD system and I consider the Outback more attractive with Toyota's Hybrid system.

Frank (not verified)    August 19, 2020 - 11:10AM

In reply to by Paul Beining (not verified)

No, The RAV4 AWD system is Toyota's and totally theirs. Toyota is a global leader in engine, hybrid, and transmission technology; in fact many mfg's use Toyota's 8 speed transmission

Scott (not verified)    February 11, 2020 - 7:55AM

In reply to by JimSchuh (not verified)

I put 100,000 Mike's on my Forrester before the headgasket went and another 100,000 miles on it after the headgasket went. It cost me a quart of oil ever 500-1000 miles, no big deal. Headgaskets are only an issue if the let coolant into the oil or engine, in my forrester's case it only let oil drip on the ground occasionally.

crankypaul (not verified)    February 10, 2020 - 3:46PM

Toyota realized that they can't make a decent vehicle and that Subaru only makes decent vehicles, so the realization was to buy into Subaru to at least get a piece of the pie. hopefully Toyota won't screw the pooch as time goes by. While Subie has their share of issues, selling all they can build is NOT one of them.

B. Choate (not verified)    February 10, 2020 - 5:36PM

In reply to by crankypaul (not verified)

Toyota can't make a decent vehicle? Subaru only makes decent vehicles? Where do you come up with this stuff? While I don't find Toyota's lineup inspiring, they very much make good products. And Subaru, while competent, have virtually always been a step behind in terms of refinement. And don't get me started on the pan that I have to place under my Subaru to catch the multiple oil leaks.

Italo Bassini (not verified)    February 11, 2020 - 11:43AM

In reply to by Madeline (not verified)

Toyota is one of the most reliable cars available in the market today. I have a count of 23 vehicles in 33 years. Montero, Montero Sport, Land Rover, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, BMW, Cherokee, Nissan, Ford, Isuzu, GMC, Fiat (first car), and Toyota Land Cruiser (both gasoline and diesel). Toyota were the most reliable, enduring well built automobiles that we have had. Although not the prettiest for sure, nor the most technological ones. They surely are far from technology. But reliability works for my wife and me.

Norm T (not verified)    February 10, 2020 - 4:20PM

Poor Mazda.

At least these two will continue to share their exobanate number of recalls the last decade.