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Why Subaru Could Emerge Stronger In The New Era

In a post-COVID world what will happen to tiny Subaru? See how its partnership with Toyota will benefit new models and current vehicles like the Forester compact SUV.

Subaru is one of the smallest automakers in the world but it’s also a resilient company that could emerge stronger in a post-COVID world. Subaru has an ace up its sleeve because they are tied to Toyota, one of the world’s most profitable automakers. Toyota now owns 20 percent of Subaru, allowing the Japanese automaker to tap Toyota’s vast resources to help them develop new technology and new cars. The alliance will also help with its current lineup of vehicles like the popular Forester SUV.

Toyota president, Akio Toyoda, at its 2020 press conference says the current crisis brings an opportunity for the brand to be “reborn as a new Toyota,” and Subaru is going to be tied to this new future with them. Subaru won’t be swallowed up and become a fully owned subsidiary of Toyota, at least not in the immediate future.

2020 Subaru Forester2020 Subaru Forester is the brand's top-selling model

Toyota’s stake in Subaru went from 16.83 to 20 percent earlier this year and it will create new opportunities for smaller Subaru with its existing models and new coming models. They won’t be building vehicles together that will share identical styling like the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 sport coupes. The partnership will bring new cars with different nameplates but share new technology.

Akio Toyoda says the new era for Toyota will mean spending more time building alliances like the partnerships that currently exist between the brand and Subaru and others. It’s part of what he called Toyota’s new “home and away" strategy.

2020 Subaru ForesterWhat does it mean for the Subaru stable of vehicles?

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.” 

Subaru is a brand that brings all-wheel-drive SUVs like the Forester compact SUV, Outback wagon, Crosstrek subcompact SUV, and Ascent family hauler. But they also build sports cars that are fun-to-drive. Look for Subaru to bring the new-generation Subaru BRZ/Toyota GR86 with a new engine and platform. The coronavirus could delay the launch of the new BRZ/GR86 sports coupe but when it does arrive, it will have more power and possibly a turbocharged engine.

Toyoda says he wants more cars “that move people’s hearts, I still think we need fun-to-drive cars.” Toyoda said in the news conference. Subaru won’t abandon its sports cars and is watching what Toyota is doing with its GR (Gazoo Racing) performance sub-brand.

Subaru is also developing a new all-electric SUV with Toyota that will be its first entry into the EV market. Subaru will bring new hybrid models in its current lineup that will include a new Forester hybrid, Outback hybrid, and Ascent hybrid like the Crosstrek plug-in hybrid using the Toyota Hybrid System.

Toyota still expects to turn a profit this year and that’s good news for Subaru Corporation who needs the partnership to emerge stronger in a post-COVID world. Subaru says they will continue to bring value to customers regardless of what’s powering the new Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs in the future. They will also remain separate and distinctive from Toyota.

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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


illregal (not verified)    May 12, 2020 - 6:41PM

GM had a bigger stake than Toyota does now 20 years ago. This partnership really means nothing other than they may take some hybrid tech. If Subaru got more Toyota like I'd stop buying them.

Donna Klipstein (not verified)    May 13, 2020 - 4:22PM

In reply to by illregal (not verified)

Not happy with the buy in with Toyota. They didn't want to admit the problems with airbags. People were dying. Hummm. And my Subaru has top notch air bag system's. Just don't trust Toyota. When time purchase new vehicle I'll look at Ford again
They didn't need the government to keep them afloat.

The Scott (not verified)    May 13, 2020 - 3:23PM

If Subaru is going to pursue hybrids, the hybrids need to be able to travel more than 17 miles on only electric and they need to find a way to keep enough room for a spare tire.

Mutugi (not verified)    May 16, 2020 - 12:25PM

The news above may mean alot to many. But would like to know achievements made in Toyota that someone would wait to see em in Subaru. Hope the partnership involved porsche or BMW. Beating around the bush