Subaru becomes Toyota
We are now able to see the first circumstantial evidence that Subaru is likely to be absorbed by Toyota.
Toyota is about to start selling the Subaru Tribeca as a Scion.
Here’s how this works.
Fuji Heavy Industries is a Japanese company that produces all sorts of things, including Subarus. (Fuji is one of those megalithic companies of which the Japanese are so fond. Under a different name, its most famous product for many years were the Nakajima “Oscar” fighters produced for the Japanese military during World War II.)
Toyota owns 8.6 percent of Fuji.
This past April, Autoblog and The Car Connection picked up on a change in Japanese law that paves the way for Toyota to absorb Subaru. Until April, Japanese law would have prohibited a Toyota take-over of Subaru because the combination would have controlled more than 50% of the domestic Japanese market. In April, the regulation was changed to refer to the international market. That removes the barrier.
It seemed unlikely that the regulation would have been changed had not Toyota wanted it changed, and Toyota would have no reason to care, unless it wanted Subaru. Moreover, Subaru wants to be wanted. Its chief executive told Autoblog in April that the company’s best bet for survival was Toyota.
Now comes word from Motor Authority that one of the new United States market Scions will, in fact, be a modification of the facelifted version of the Subaru Tribeca SUV shown here. According to Japan’s New Model Magazine X, a version of the Tribeca with a Scion grill has been spotted testing in Japan. The magazine maintains this vehicle will, in fact, be sold as a Scion by Toyota.
It is difficult to see the advantage to Toyota of selling another manufacturer’s product under a nameplate it has put, and is putting, extraordinary effort into growing. Unless, of course, Toyota is confident that it will have complete control of Subaru.
Last year, it was reported that Toyota would supply Subaru with vehicles to be sold in Europe under the Subaru name.