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What Toyota’s Increased Stake in Subaru Means for American Buyers

Toyota's president making an announcement about a partnership with Subaru

In addition to the Big Three automakers, two brands from overseas have also gained popularity in the U.S.: Toyota and Subaru. Toyota is known for making cars with outstanding reliability and fuel economy, such as the RAV4, and is considered one of the most successful auto companies in the entire world. Subaru is also known for its quality vehicles such as the Impreza, which won the Japan Car of the Year award.

While both automakers have enjoyed great success on its own, it looks like the two will be working together more closely for much of the foreseeable future. Toyota recently announced that it was increasing its share in Subaru from 17% to 20%. Will this have any effect on buyers in the U.S.?

Toyota’s stake in Subaru

Toyota has made the development of autonomous, electric, and hybrid cars a priority over the past few years. Because of this, the company is looking to find allies that share the same goals so that this dream can be achieved faster.

Toyota has had a share in Subaru since 2005, but with this latest increase, Toyota will be able to bring a lot of features to its vehicles that were previously exclusive to Subaru cars.

New Toyota cars will now have new safety features thanks to the implementation of the Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist system. Subaru will also be able to use Toyota’s technology in its future cars. Toyota is expected to add 50 billion yen to its annual profits, according to analyst reports.

Working together

After Toyota raised its stake in Subaru from 8.7% to 16.5%, the companies jointly developed two rear-wheel sports cars: the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86. Both cars performed well in the market stateside.

Thanks to Toyota’s increased stake in Subaru, a press release announced that the companies have plans to develop second-generation versions of these vehicles.

The two automakers will also focus on producing new electric cars and all-wheel drive vehicles in the future. Since both companies share the same goal of a future with more autonomous and electric cars, Subaru President Tomomi Nakamura predicts that the company will be able to develop better cars faster and with the best technology.

Toyota also plans to put more of its hybrid powertrains in Subaru’s vehicles. The first priority of this partnership will be to develop a new all-electric SUV.

Toyota’s other partnerships

Subaru is not the only ally Toyota has made in its endeavor to produce more electric vehicles. The company also has a 5% stake in Mazda and the two have made plans to construct a plant in the United States to work on all-electric cars.

In 2016, Toyota announced a partnership with Suzuki and acquired the Daihatsu Motor Company as a subsidiary, which manufactures compact cars for Toyota.

Toyota started up a brief partnership with Tesla in 2010, purchasing a 3% stake. However, due to differences in culture and overall goals, Toyota sold off its Tesla stake in 2016.

What’s in store for the American market?

Stateside consumers will most likely be excited over the return of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ. There have been hints that both the new models will have a flat-head, turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that is characteristic of Subaru vehicles. It’s capable of 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, which is a big improvement over the old base engine of the Toyota 86.

The new models will have more driver assistance features and possibly an updated drivetrain, though this has yet to be confirmed. Fans of these cars can expect to see the new models sometime in 2020.