It is a little bit like showing breasts at a plastic surgeon congress: At the annual meeting of the JSAE, the Japanese version of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Subaru totally disrobed its BRZ and shows it to a strictly professional audience. (Read More…)
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.
“In 1909, people shifted from the horse carriage to the automobile, and horses retired from the world of mobility. What happened to the horses? We still have horse races. People love horses. People support horses and horse racing. As long as car enthusiasts exist, motor sports will continue.”
Akio Toyoda, February 2, 2012, at the hachi-roku launch party
The 86 is not on sale yet, and people are already swapping engines. In a virtual way at least. In hachi-roku forums people are discussing the merits of more horsepower than the stock 200hp. They also wonder aloud how much additional power the hachi-roku can safely take. “Go for it,” says hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada: (Read More…)
Hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada credits his sons with giving him the impetus to develop this car. His sons are 24 and 27 now, they do not have a driver’s license and show no interest in cars. “They sit in front of the computer all day,” says Tada. “On Gran Turismo, they are better than their father. But they don`t want to drive.”
Tada tells how he took his boys to the racetracks since age 5 to awaken an interest in cars. It was a disaster, Tada admits:
“Manufacturers like to blame young people for having no interest in cars. Maybe we should blame ourselves. Manufacturers provided boring cars and focused on older people, because this is where the money is. We have abandoned young people.” (Read More…)
I already told you that today is not the official launch. Highly out of the ordinary at Toyota. Usually, when the members of the media are invited, the car goes on sale. Not in this case. In Japan, the car will be in dealers’ showrooms in April, I hear. Nonetheless, if I want one right away, I better hustle down to my neighborhood Toyota dealer and place an order now.
The car is made at Subaru’s Gunma Manufacturing Division, 1,000 per month. Currently, there are more than 3,000 pre-orders, I better take a number. “But when will the car arrive in the U.S.?“ is what you and I want to know. “Not decided yet,” is the official answer. (Read More…)
First of all, I thought I had already been to the launch party. Wrong. I thought I had driven the thing. Wrong. I learned today this was a pre-announcement-pre-party, and the cars I had seen were “production prototypes.” I see. Then, this splendiferous event with a rock band, canapés and apple juice must surely be the launch festa, I thought. (The dear reader knows by now that the average Toyota launch event in Japan entails a card table, two speakers, PowerPoint and a bottle of water.) Wrong again. It’s kind of a pre-announcement. The car itself will come in — we’ll talk about that when we talk timing.
However, I was told that today, that now we have real specs and prices, and the cars (which looked deceptively like the production prototypes) are the ones that will be sold. In Japan. As for America –– we’ll get to that. Here are the vital stats of the hachi-roku JDM spec: (Read More…)
I spent all day at the launch party of the Toyota FT/GT86/86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ “new compact rear-wheel-drive sports car” at Makuhari Messe in Tokyo. Could have been Chiba already. I came back with so much information about Toyota’s new “honest sportscar” (as Akio Toyoda likes to call it) that I declare today Hachi-Roku Thursday. (Read More…)
TTAC has long been bearish on the Scion brand, and in a lot of ways, Toyota’s global tri-branding strategy with its new “86” sportscar (Toyota, Subaru and Scion versions are being sold) highlights how Toyota has lost its branding focus. On the other hand, the FR-S, Scion’s version of the 86, is by far the most compelling product that brand has offered… well, possibly ever (OK, since the Mk1 xB). If I were king of Toyota, I’d probably still kill off Scion and sell the 86 as a Celica in the US… after all, how much sense does it make to have two sporty coupes at Scion and none for the Toyota brand? But if Scion follows the FR-S up with a new truly compact pickup co-developed with Daihatsu, as has been rumored, I’d be willing to concede that Scion has a place in the market. After all, truly unique, funky vehicles justified Scion’s existence in the first place, before a watered-down second generation of products killed that positioning (and Scion’s sales). With the FR-S, Scion seems to be heading back towards focused and freaky niche confections… let’s hope it continues to return to those roots.