A special ceremony held on 16th March at Subaru’s Gunma factory in Ota-city, Japan, marked the start of production of one of this year’s most anticipated new models, variously known as the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT 86.
The landmark event in the collaborative agreement between Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd (FHI) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) was attended by the presidents of both corporations.
Subaru’s Gunma Main Plant, which will produce both the Subaru and Toyota versions, has undergone a significant re-fitting to cope with the extra capacity. Subaru plans to produce the Impreza at the same plant by March 2013.
FHI President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga commented: “This car symbolises our corporate strategy in two significant aspects: good progress in our alliance and advancement of our ‘select and focus’ approach. The start of production today made a huge step for us, but it is not our end goal. By constantly refining both models, FHI and TMC hope to nourish each model to be loved by customers all over the world for a long time to come.”
TMC President Akio Toyoda said: “The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 could not have been successfully developed without collaboration between FHI and TMC. We started the alliance for mutual growth in 2005. Now I’m delighted to see that our alliance bore fruit.”
Now I just need to get my hands on one of each of the two cars to be able to confirm whether the collaboration has been worthwhile and whether the car truly is the “driver’s car”, as touted in the media in the run up to production.
Having just seen one of the Toyota variants cope magnificently with the hill climb at Goodwood this Wednesday, I have high hopes!