By on December 16, 2016

2017 Subaru BRZ

The Subaru BRZ has been struggling along since hitting its sales peak in 2013, and its recent refresh hasn’t done much to help it rebound on the sales charts.

Now, thanks to conflicting information from Subaru itself, the future of the rear-drive coupe is as clear as San Francisco Bay at 7 a.m.

The recently launched 2017 Subaru Impreza is the first model built on the Subaru Global Platform. According to a release earlier this year, the rest of Subaru’s model lineup is to follow: “The Subaru Global Platform … will be used in the development of all Subaru vehicles from now on, beginning with the next-generation Impreza, due to hit the market in 2016.”

Subaru representatives reiterated this point at the recent launch of the new 2017 Impreza.

In a separate conversation during the Impreza launch, one of the company’s engineers stated the BRZ may not go on the new platform, bringing into doubt whether the BRZ will continue into another generation, and if so, in what form.

Additionally, speculation last year around the BRZ’s twin, the Toyota 86 née Scion FR-S, hinted at a move to the platform used for Mazda MX-5. Such a move by Toyota could spell the end for Subaru’s sports coupe.

Asked for clarification, Subaru’s national manager for product communications, Dominick Infante, didn’t offer absolutes, saying, “[The BRZ] currently uses a custom chassis so it’s possible for a next generation car to do the same.”

Still, a few possibilities exist regarding the BRZ’s future, should it continue.

The Toyota/Subaru project could divorce, with Toyota opting to use the MX-5 platform for its next-generation coupe. However, this would leave Subaru without a partner, and saddle it with the old platform.

The marriage between the Japanese automakers could continue, with both cars using a bespoke platform or one from Mazda.

The BRZ moving to Subaru’s new platform could open the door for it to offer all-wheel drive, a core part of the brand’s marketing DNA. Such a move would lead the BRZ down the road of becoming a successor to one of Subaru’s previous vehicles — the SVX.

Or Subaru could just kill the BRZ entirely — which is looking more likely by the day.

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55 Comments on “Conflicting Information Leaves Subaru BRZ Future In Doubt...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I know these don’t sell that well, but I do see more of the Subaru version, than the Scion/Toyota one. Why doesn’t Subaru offer one with a turbo? I think a turnkey turbo’d version from the dealer, with a factory warranty, might help sales.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Yeah, it’s not like the SVX enjoyed any success. Toyota shrinking the GT86 makes sense since they will introduce the BWW developed sports car, and the 2 will have similar dimensions.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The BMW/TOYO looks like it will be decidedly upscale especially if it has a TTV6 Hybrid powertrain. I don’t think it would encroach too much on GT86 sales since to toyobaru is an entry level sports car.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I always felt that the roles on the FRS/BRZ project were wrong – Toyota should have done the drivetrain, and Subaru should have done the rest.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Regardless of who engineered what the platform would still set sales records -as in record slowest sales.

    Im amazed they even green lit the coupes to begin with -to say nothing about them being in production even this long, and we should be grateful for that.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Subaru still sells these?

    Wow.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    If the end of the BRZ means there will be an MX-5 based coupe on the market, I’m all for it.

  • avatar
    ACCvsBig10

    Shoulda made it AWD

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Ah the interwebz answer to everything automotive. Make it AWD give it DI and turbocharge it along with a big heaping spoonful of DCT. Everybody wants some variation of Godzilla at the lowest possible price point in a wrapper they agree with no matter the brand.

      Although in this case your probably right with a Subaru it seems no matter the chassis they want an AWD version.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Nah, it you make it AWD with DI and turbo, you got yourself an ugly Japanese version of an Audi A5. I guess there could be some market for a less expensive A5 for those who don’t mind the ugly styling and inferior AWD system.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Intrigued by the idea of moving to an MX-5 based platform. But we don’t need another Fiata. A 2+2 coupe, the size of the current 86, would get my attention.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Looked up the 240Z US sales from back in the day.
    30,000 to 50,000 per year.
    Looks like the Sub/Toy combined were about half that range.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      HATCH made 240Z (and 240SX) USEFUL!

      • 0 avatar
        mr breeze

        I owned a 280Z and now own a BRZ. Anything gained by the hatch on the 280 is negated by a very small cargo area. At least you can fold the rear seat down in the BRZ where I have fit anything from a bicycle to a full set of race wheels and tires.

    • 0 avatar
      mr breeze

      Did you also look at sales figures for the Miata as well? They sold less than 9,000 units in each of the last two years. We will never see the kind of sales figures for sports cars that were posted by the 240 Z or RX7 again. Even enthusiasts don’t buy them, and everybody else is buying crossovers.

  • avatar
    SnarkyRichard

    Clear as San Fransisco at 7am ? So it’s tired and butt hurt .

  • avatar
    Counterpoint

    Just build a 2-door coupe version of the WRX and slap a BRZ label on it.

  • avatar

    About the only thing I want more than a revived SVX would be a revived Citroen SM.

  • avatar
    mr breeze

    Both the Citroen and SVX were two very unique and interesting cars.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I don’t know the contractual arrangements Subaru has with Toyota, but I would think a WRX engine/drivetrain as a premiim BRZ could renew interest.

  • avatar
    dwford

    The BRZ never made sense as part of the Subaru lineup anyway. Everything else is AWD, then they drop a RWD coupe on us. What’s the point?

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I do like this car. I like that it exists, and I wish it would have reignited the cheap smaller Japanese RWD car segment (Nissan/Datsun SX, 510 and the Te72 Corolla kinda cars).

    I say they (Toyota mostly) build a sedan, a wagon and that awesome shooting brake concept. Get some mileage out of the platform. A more practical alternative would boost sales.

    Someone knowledgeable about cars, but requiring a “family” car of sorts, would walk right past all the beige Camrys and Corollas and go for a RWD sedan or wagon. The coupe would still be there for true enthusiast who don’t need practicality and the well-off college kids who can (or who’s parents can) afford a new car.

    However, I don’t think it would become *too* popular so as to really threaten their bread and butter cars. Even if it did, a few less Camrys and Corollas wouldn’t hurt anyone.

    I tell ya, if Toyota developed this platform and made it a “family” of cars (with a decent in-house I-4 as nels0300 suggested above), then replaced the Toyota Impala..oops I mean Avalon with the Mark X, they would really have my attention. The Mark X is built in LHD form for China I believe. It may not squeeze out all the profits the ancient FWD Avalon does, but it would pay off in the long term.

    I believe such moves would go a long way to accomplish this image rejuvenation they’re attempting (again). A real change, not just “bold” styling on the same old boring car.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “I do like this car. I like that it exists, and I wish it would have reignited the cheap smaller Japanese RWD car segment (Nissan/Datsun SX, 510 and the Te72 Corolla kinda cars).”

      but you didn’t buy one, so you’re complicit in its failure.

      “Someone knowledgeable about cars, but requiring a “family” car of sorts, would walk right past all the beige Camrys and Corollas and go for a RWD sedan or wagon. ”

      time and time again enthusiasts say these things, yet time and time again they don’t happen. People looking for a family vehicle won’t “walk right past” Camrys and Corollas for your brown diesel RWD manual transmission station wagon. they’ll walk right past Camrys and Corollas for a CUV. That’s the way it is. GET OVER IT.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        Why do you get so worked up over this stuff?

        Not every vehicle for sale needs to be practical and sell in hundreds of thousands of units, thank God.

        Should GM stop selling Corvettes? I mean, they certainly could make more money by putting those resources towards CUVs and SUVs which have much better margins and sell much better?

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          who’s “worked up?” no need for transference here.

          the simple fact is that the noisy geeks who complain that automakers won’t make the kinds of cars they like complain even louder when they do make them because the car isn’t the exact perfect unicorn they wanted, then screech like crazy when said cars do poorly and are canceled.

          and at no point in that process do these noisy geeks actually *buy* any of those cars.

          “Corvettes” don’t enter into it. there’s a world of difference between making a niche $60k car and a niche $20k car. the former requires far lower volume to justify the business case.

          • 0 avatar
            mr breeze

            So true. I wish Nissan had built that IDX concept car just to illustrate the hypocrisy of every single person that said they would buy one of them.

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            I don’t know, seems like you’re worked up and angry.

            “GET OVER IT”.

            All caps to me seems like shouting.

            So should Mazda stop building the Miata?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “a few less Camrys and Corollas wouldn’t hurt anyone”

      “replaced the Toyota Impala..oops I mean Avalon”

      Just stop. Really. You drive a boring old Taurus, amusingly think a four-cylinder Accord is genuinely sporty and not at all “beige”, and have an unhealthy Toyota chip on your shoulder, so just stop with the ridiculous insults.

      Toyota didn’t become one of the largest and most profitable automakers by listening to your advice. If Toyota did invest in the sporty series of family vehicles you propose, I doubt you’d buy one in lieu of a Ford. They already have a series of genuinely good drivers in the Lexus division that you fail to acknowledge, they give offroad enthusiasts plenty of options, and the manual transmission in the Accord is the only thing that makes it hot sauce compared to a Camry.

      There’s already a car maker that caters to sporty dynamics in family cars, and train your peepers on their sales numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        No sporty dynamics vehicles are real volume sellers.

        Almost none of the cars I’ve owned would’ve existed if bean counters or JimZ had the last word.

        Would Toyota have been better off if they never made an MR2 turbo, or Supra turbo, or Celica All-Trac? Who knows? It would’ve sucked for enthusiasts, but the bottom line is what is most important.

        Is it really worth it to offer a V6 Camry when the take rate is so low?

        Why does Honda even bother with a manual transmission Accord sedan? Why the effort just to please such a small number of people?

        Is building a ZR1 Corvette REALLY maximizing shareholder value?

        We really all should just be buying CUVs and SUVs with automatics, because that’s all mainstream manufacturers should be building. Amirite?

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          You’re mistaking my disagreement with JohnTaurus’s anti-toyota fetish as agreement with JimZ. Re-read.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            I agree with JimZ! He’s smart!

            And JohnTaurus ain’t drivin’ some 20 year-old family sedan because he chooses to. His opinion of any new vehicle is as meaningless as a 9 year-old’s.

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            Got it 30 mile.

            I don’t get why people seem to be happy that this car might be going away and bagging on it because it’s not practical.

            Subaru doesn’t really need this car, they have WRX and the STi.

            Toyota does, because they don’t have any sporty choices. They used to have 3 sporty choices, MR2, Celica, Supra.

            Instead of giving up on it, why not improve it, give it more power, make a hatchback version, something, like others have suggested. It’s not an absurd idea.

            All of the other major manufactures offer SOMETHING fun and affordable. Camaro, Mustang, Civic Si, WRX, GTI, etc.

            None of those cars have anywhere near the “business case” of a CUV, but automakers make them anyway because there is value in making something cool beyond just dollars.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “happy that this car might be going away and bagging on it because it’s not practical.”

            Y’know, these discussions would be a lot more productive if you would respond to the things I actually say and not whatever you wish I had said. Nowhere have I said I’m “happy” it’s going away.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            nels, I’d love to see Toyota resurrect the MR2 and the Supra, and improve the Toyobaru, or make something to compete with the GTI and Civic Si. Especially if they could make it work financially. It bugs me to see that segment given entirely to Subaru, VW, Ford, and now Honda again, especially since the past has shown Toyota is capable of it.

            Unfortunately, it’s just academic interest for me at this point because I’m some years off from being able to buy one of those, so I can’t holler too loudly about it. But then I just did buy one of their SUVs, so maybe I can holler.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        30-Mile fetch,
        Toyota built itself in the 80s. The status Toyota enjoys today is largely responsible from that era.

        1. The Hilux was designed from the outset as a 4×4. This us unlike its competition who added 4×4 to their 2WD pickups.

        2. The MR2, Supra and even the improvements to the Celica shows Toyota was more innovative and not as conservative/risk averse as they have become.

        3. Lexus, both sporty and prestige vehicles arrived.

        I do believe Toyota has lots of room to present itself as a leader in innovation, not a conservative manufactuer of boring appliances. They might be quite reliable, but I think Toyota is seeing itself fall behind. Globally the Ranger is giving the Hilux a run for its money. This does not include the Amarok and other new pickups.

        Ford is also taking risks with their small turbo cars. Ford alone is making Toyota look too conservative. VW will also surge in the future.

        Toyota must change its direction. Take risk.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    “Instead of giving up on it, why not improve it, give it more power, make a hatchback version, something, like others have suggested. It’s not an absurd idea.”

    @nels3000

    Why not : because automakers exist to make profit.

    Here’s the rough business case for the following cars;

    Camaro ; platform amortization of GMs RWD Alpha platform and a pony car competitor.
    Mustang; flag carrier sports car for Ford and a marketing institution.
    Civic SI; niche enthusiast derivative of one of Hondas bestselling cars.
    WRX ; caters to the enthusiast driver who needs four doors who somehow convinced his spouse they shouldn’t get a regular CUV. A derivative of Subarus mass market Impreza.

    The Corvette isn’t even a Chevy product- it’s basicallly a commercial American institution like McDonalds . Ironically most buyers of this car own it despite its high performance capabilities rather then because of them.

    The cold bottom line is that most enthusiast vehicles are impractical by the nature of their enthusiast-ness, which erodes their mass market appeal. Look at the 2016 Camaro ; a dynamic masterpiece that’s glued to the dealer lots because it’s not a practical car.

    My crystal ball says when a firm someday re-introduces a go-fast crossover like the unloved Dodge Caliber 5 door SRT , it’ll be game over for the enthusiast segment as we know it.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      “The cold bottom line is that most enthusiast vehicles are impractical by the nature of their enthusiast-ness, which erodes their mass market appeal.”

      This has been true since the first enthusiast oriented vehicle.

      It’s not like Toyota doesn’t have platforms to use if platform amortization is a concern. They have the FRS platform and they have the Corolla Im they could use for a FWD performance car.

      Seriously, would it kill Toyota put something better than a 138 hp 1.8L in the Corolla Im?

      Every other manufacturer has something.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        “This has been true since the first enthusiast oriented vehicle.”

        You elided his specification of “mass market appeal”.

        There *was* no mass market when exorbitant, hand-cobbled enthusiast vehicles were first splattering game and arthritic sefs on His Lordship’s estate roads.

        An annual couple of hundred supercharged drop tops delivered to wastrel Young Masters and the manufacturer achieved deathless icon status.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    They’ve made so much(and for so long..) noise about their “new cool sporty car”…and after world premiere they’ve abandoned that car ..

    Every driver/reviewer says it’s a great car .. it’s got great balance and “top road manners” .. but .. it’s “underpowered” ! (..small european hot-hatches are “stronger and faster”..)

    Car looks fresh and sporty(..in fact > it looks 0-60 in 5.5 sec. “sporty”..).. so there is no need for “optical” refresh .. what it needs is 30-50bhp more powerfull “pusher”..

    Turbo for Subaru / SuperCharger for Toyota , .. and add some “characteristic brand features” to differentiate that “twins” ! ..

    Nissan really should put that IDX concept on the road to show them how it can be done ..


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