Toyota and Subaru deepen partnership on hybrids, sports cars

Toyota and Subaru announced Friday that they will be expanding their co-development partnership to include new platforms and connected-car systems, paving the way for new products (and some familiar ones) in both companies’ road maps. 

The companies did not provide fine details of their upcoming plans, but they did confirm several joint projects and some opportunities for sharing of existing architecture and powertrain systems. Toyota will increase its ownership stake in Subaru from just under 17 percent to 20 percent as part of the deal. 

Perhaps most notably, they confirmed that the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZwhich the two companies jointly developed for the current generationwill return for a second act. Recent leaks had indicated that work on the replacements for the sporty coupes was already underway, but this is the first Subaru or Toyota has officially acknowledged that the program is continuing.

Questions remain as to which company’s architecture will underpin the next Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ. A Toyota platform would likely mean the new coupes will get a longitudinal inline-4 sourced from Lexus. If the modified Subaru Impreza platform currently utilized is to be updated instead, the two will probably be powered by one of Subaru’s 4-cylinder boxer engines, as they currently are.

Toyota will continue to share its hybrid powertrain package, currently utilized in the Crosstrek Hybrid, with Subaru, and it is expected to make its way into additional vehicles. Subaru will lend its all-wheel-drive expertise to the production of new vehicles for the Toyota portfolio as well. 

Going forward, the companies will jointly develop both a new battery-electric vehicle platform and new connected and autonomous vehicle technology to enable the next generation of mobility.