It’s been a great run, but the current Subaru BRZ will soon end production in Japan. Released in 2012 in partnership with Toyota, production of the rear-wheel-drive coupe has ceased at the Gunma plant in Japan, where it was built alongside the identical 86.
The news was revealed on Subaru’s Japanese consumer website.
"We have finished accepting orders for build-to-order manufacturing of the models listed," the translated page says. "Due to stock availability at retailers, we may not be able to meet customer requests for body colours and options."
At a local level, a Subaru Australia spokesperson said it was awaiting clarification from the factory in Japan.
"But currently, from an Australian perspective, we have plans for several more months of BRZ production,” the spokesperson confirmed.
The BRZ adds around 30-35 sales to the local Subaru ledger each month, a number that’s matched by the 86.
Subaru’s best-seller at the moment is the Forester, which finds around 1500 homes a month here in Australia.
The news comes as little surprise; sales for the BRZ (and the 86, for that matter) have slowed significantly, while the car itself – a mash-up of a Subaru platform and engine block and Toyota cylinder head and injection system – can’t be updated with modern driver safety aids like AEB and adaptive cruise control.
Though Toyota confirmed to MOTOR magazine last year that a new 86 program was being researched, the trail has gone cold as to how a second-generation 86/BRZ might look.
Both companies now have modular platforms in their portfolios, but it appears that neither can be reconfigured to – affordably, at least – to accommodate a small rear-wheel-drive two-door layout.
Toyota partnered with BMW to produce the Supra on the German company’s Z4 platform, while the imminent release of the Lexus IS rear-wheel-drive sedan on an updated version of its old platform – not the new TNGA one – also indicates that the economics don’t stack up.
Subaru revealed to WhichCar last year that it “didn’t have any visibility” on a second-generation BRZ, and it appears not much has changed.
“The factory has yet to share any details, but given its success and appeal in the Australian market, we’re excited about its future prospects,” confirmed the spokesperson.
Current speculation suggests that Toyota could potentially join forces with Mazda to co-develop the second-generation 86, and Subaru – which is part-owned by Toyota – could benefit from that union.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is reframing the game for many car companies around the world, though, especially when it comes to research and development costs in light of declining sales.
What’s obvious is that the current BRZ is entering the twilight of its days, and if you want to own a piece of motoring folklore, now’s a good time to buy one.