Car & Driver horrified lovers of unadulterated driving fun with the news that “just 6000 Subaru BRZ sports cars will be allocated to the U.S. for the 2013 model year.” The source of that report is somehow suspect: “A Subaru dealer.” Car and Driver’s telephone budget must have been cut. The magazine consulted Subaru’s website that says that the BRZ will be built in “extremely limited quantities.” Car and Driver also checked with an old C&D article that said that “Subaru thinks that 5000 to 7000 per year would be enough.” Thus having performed its journalistic duty, Car and Driver ran with the story of a BRZ that will be available in homeopathic quantities only. Which, I assume, should trigger a run at dealerships.
Time to make some calls.
Spokespeople at Subaru were very busy today, preparing for an event on Friday. Finally, Subaru spokesman Masato Saito was dragged out of a meeting and said that these rumors are not “based on official information by FHI (Fuji Heavy Industries).” He did not want to comment further.
Time to call Toyota. Toyota produces its “hachi-roku” (Toyota 86 in Japan, GT 86 in Europe and elsewhere, Scion FR-S in the U.S.) together with Subaru. The deal was that Subaru stops building minivehicles, which are now built by Toyota’s Daihatsu. As a make-good, Subaru builds the hachi-roku/BRZ in its Gunma plant in Ota, Gunma Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. According to Car and Driver, “only the front fascia, badges, and maybe wheels separate the BRZ from its Toyota—and Scion—sibling.” If the capacities are somehow constrained, then Toyota should know about it.
Toyota always maintained that it will sell as many hachi-roku as possible, with CEO Akio Toyoda personally leading the charge. A quick chat confirms that Toyota has not changed this stance.
Not surprisingly, Toyota’s spokesman Naoto Fuse says that “as for the Toyota 86, we plan to sell between 30,000 and 40,000 units annually overseas, mostly in North America and Europe.”
Why were Subaru spokespeople so busy? On Friday, there will be a line-off party at the Subaru plant. Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86, GT 86, Scion FR-S will be rolling off the line as quickly as they can build them, and as many as importers order will be shipped. Expect the first ones to arrive at U.S. shores in approximately a month from now. After a few weeks of thin supplies, common to any new model launch, you should be able to choose from plenty cars. Don’t buy the shortage story and pay above MSRP.