By on March 14, 2012

Merriam-Webster Definition of CANARD: a false or unfounded report or story

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.

A similar canard had been published last November by the fansite ft86club.com. It comes as no surprise that this time also, FT86club.com immediately jumped on the Car and Driver story.

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.

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22 Comments on “TTAC Publishes Exclusive Picture Of Supply-Constrained Subaru BRZ...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Yeah, these limited-production stories are silly if you stop to think about it for 2 seconds. “We spent half a decade and umpteen bazillions of yen to develop this car, and now we’re only going to build 500 a month.” Honda dealers were telling all sorts of fairy tales about the S2000 in its early days.

    Similar stories are going around about the Prius C. That one makes more sense, as there is a huge order backlog in Japan for the Aqua and the yen goes further at home than in export markets.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      I’ve seen two Prius c’s in the last 24 hours here in Northern California, one with dealer plates (likely a demo) and one with no plates and no window sticker, meaning it was a sale. There are plenty in stock. Feel sorry for anyone who ‘pre-ordered’ and paid a premium.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Good to see that Car and Driver pulled out all the stops to confirm the story before running it. I thumbed through the latest issue when I was waiting at Supercuts yesterday. C&D is entertaining waiting room material but that’s about it. Thanks to Bertel for actually putting some effort into verifying things first.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Agreed that it was good that Bertel did some legwork and refuted the story. Although some on here may question Bertel performing full journalistic verification on other topics : http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/dan-akerson-says-first-year-sales-of-volt-as-good-as-prius-grows-long-nose/

      • 0 avatar

        Are you referring to the “some” who have problems with basic math?

        Or to those who think that after a speech, a journalist has to call up the CEO and ask: “Did you really mean that? What did you really mean?”

        Those people can question me all day, can’t save them all.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I was thinking those who ask “What did you really mean?” or “what were you specifically referring to since there were two interpretations”.

        I agree you can`t save them all!

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Who cares? The Scion will be cheaper and a better base to start modifying the car anyway. And a car like this will be modified by its owners.

    And if you buy it from a Scion dealer you probably won’t feel the need to take a two hour shower when you’re done.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Why will the Scion be a better base to start from than the Subaru? If as stated the differences are “only the front fascia, badges, and maybe wheels separate the BRZ from its Toyota—and Scion—sibling.”

      Really an old style badge engineering job – which is appropriate for a lowish volume car.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Up until this article I thought the BRZ was supposed to have more standard features – heated seats, automatic climate control, nav, and maybe other options. If that’s the case, the FRS should sell for a couple grand cheaper, making it the better tuner choice.

      • 0 avatar
        davesrave

        The BRZ will be available with proximity key, heated mirrors and leather seats, and HIDs, none of which are available on the Scion. In that regard, only 6000 BRZs matters.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The driving reviews say the Scion is set up to be more neutral in its chassis balance while the Subaru has more understeer, perhaps to make adapting easier for Subaru loyalists. It is a shame because I like the Subaru’s dashboard quite a bit more. The center stack looks better in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        “Better” as in cheaper to buy. The FR-S is basically the entry trim, while the BRZ is the mid and high trims. For all practical purposes they’re the same car, so anyone feeling adventurous can mix-and-match bumpers, interiors, suspensions, and other parts as they see fit.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        CJinSD – Are these driving impressions from anyone reliable? I guess I have spent too much time on TTAC to trust a “journosaur” to notice a subtle difference in chassis balance. Until proven otherwise, I’m guessing the difference in chassis balance is based on the reviewer’s brand perception.

        Probably a moot point anyway, since I doubt I would notice the difference.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        http://www.caranddriver.com/features/2013-subaru-brz-and-2013-scion-fr-s-a-study-in-comparison-and-contrast-feature-fun-all-around-page-2

        Who would be a reliable source? I don’t blame you for not trusting the magazines, but I’ve read a number of places that the spring and damper settings are distinct between the two brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I don’t know. Buying my last Subaru was the least painful car buying experience I have ever had. Of course YMMV.

  • avatar
    SimRacingDan

    Maybe the “dealer” was reading off Subaru’s website:

    From http://www.subaru.com/brz/2013/index.html

    “As you might expect of such a vehicle, the all-new Subaru BRZ will be built in extremely limited quantities.”

    Maybe that’s marketing BS, but at least there’s some corroborating evidence.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    6,000 for the entire 2013MY does seem a bit low. I’m assuming that Toyota/Subaru are projecting over 70,000 cars a year combined globally.

    And its a reasonable sales projection. What gives the GT86/FRS/BRZ sales potential is that it can be sold in global markets unlike the Hyundai Genesis coupe or the Mustang.

    European and Asian markets have taxes based on engine size, C02 emissions and weight. The GT86 makes 160g/km from a 2.0 liter petrol engine, meaning for instance in the UK, it falls in the UK G tax band, with a £165/yr tax ($260). Neither the Mustang or Genesis coupe is currently officially sold in the UK, but if it was it would fall in the L & M tax band, meaning £780-990/yr($1,222-$1,551). In Germany, where the Genesis is officially sold, and the Mustang isn’t, has a 235g/km CO2 efficiency for the 303hp 3.8 (only model sold there currently), and falls in the worst C02 efficiency category.

    In Japan, outside of taxes based on engine displacement there is a specific weight tax, which is a 2,500 yen ($30) for every 500kgs (1,102lbs) every year- this tax increases every year as the car gets older. Older/heavier cars can reach over $1,000 annually in taxes. This is in addition to other taxes.

    So outside the US, factors such as engine displacement, weight, and carbon emissions makes a massive impact in the operating cost of the car. Crucial for an ‘affordable’ sports car.

    One thing that makes the 6,000 figure seem legitimate is that this 200hp light weight coupe may find difficulty in appealing to the US market, where there is no C02 tax or weight tax, and heavier, bigger engined cars are more appealing. That 30-40k vehicles may be more skewed towards Europe than the US.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Subaru has minimal market share, and this particular car is supposed to be a halo that competes directly against a badge-engineered Scion variant.

    Planning for 6,000 units of the Subaru version for the US market would seem to be about right. Between this and the Scion variant, there isn’t going to be any shortage of these types of cars once the initial frenzy wears off.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Hmm, limited numbers, higher performance systems. Pre-order now! Anyone interested in an ’02 Thunderbird?

  • avatar
    meefer

    This was probably a rumor so dealers could bring back the “market adjustments” from the heyday of the WRX. It wasn’t the worst I have been treated at a car dealership, but that’s only because I threatened to run him over :)

  • avatar

    That is such a burn on car and driver damn

    6000 == Subaru thinks that 5000 ­to 7000 per year would be enough

    DAMN

    I used to think that R/T was a joke and MT god awful (Lieberman not helping) and C/D the only one maybe worth reading.

    Thanks Bertel.

  • avatar
    WRC555

    The unofficial and unconfirmed allocated number for US is 540 per month, over the next 7 months (May-Nov 2012).

    I think Subaru can and will increase the shipment number if there’s enough demand, just like the MY2002 WRX(initial planned sales 10,000 units, final production 35,069 units for first model year).


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