More than six years ago, Subaru and Toyota entered into a cooperative agreement. In 2009, that relationship bore its first concept - the Toyota FT-86. Both automakers showed the production versions of their respective sports cars last year, and Subaru has officially kicked off production on the models. In about two more months, car buyers will be able to get their hands on them.
On Friday, Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru's parent company, held a celebratory production kick-off at the Gunma Main Plant that will produce both the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GT 86. The event was held in conjunction with Toyota, and Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda attended.
The Gunma plant will produce the BRZ and the Toyota version, which will be branded the 86 in Japan, the GT 86 in Europe and the Scion FR-S in North America. Both coupes feature a rear-wheel-drive layout with Subaru's purpose-built 2.0-liter boxer engine throwing 200-hp and 151 lb-ft of torque at the rear axle. Toyota contributed direct injection technology to the project.
The output is modest, but the Subaru model is able to capitalize on it with a very low center of gravity and a 2,762-pound (1,255 kg) US-spec weight. Scion did not list a final weight on its FR-S debut press release, and the curb weight box remains empty on the FR-S' Web page. Toyota lists the curb weight of the GT 86 as 1,180 kg (2,596 lbs) on its UK website, so we assume the FR-S will be comparable. Long story short, the low weight should provide a lively ride.
"The start of production today made a huge step for us, but it is not our goal. Fuji Heavy Industries President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said. "By constantly refining both models, TMC and FHI hope to nourish each model to be loved by customers all over the world for a long time to come."
Both the Toyota and Subaru sports cars have been highly anticipated for several years. Toyota showed its first concept at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, and showed several updated concepts, including the FT-86 II, over the years that followed. Finally, after Toyota was starting to take some good-natured ribbing for the number of light updates that it brought to major auto shows, it revealed the final production in December.
In a contrasting approach, Subaru waited until last year to show anything, revealing a rough transparent model at March's Geneva Motor Show, a full concept at November's LA Auto Show and the final production version at December's Tokyo show.
North American deliveries of the 2013 Scion FR-S and 2013 Subaru BRZ will begin in spring and are expected by May. Subaru is building a limited number of 2013 BRZ models, but has not specified the exact number. Those wishing to purchase one may want to pre-order at a Subaru dealership ASAP, as the limited production run may make buying one later on difficult. Pricing for both models has yet to be announced.