Weird Things Are Happening With The Toyobaru Twins In Britain

Illustration for article titled Weird Things Are Happening With The Toyobaru Twins In Britain
Photo: Toyota

The current Toyota 86 is no more in the UK, as Toyota announced it had just sold its last example of the low-power, high-fun rear-wheel-drive sport coupe there. But British fans shouldn’t despair, because Toyota’s teasing a bright future.

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“Of course, this is not the end of the story,” the automaker’s news release reads. “Watch this space for the next chapter.”

The hint here is that Toyota is making way for the second-generation 86, which rumors suggest will be called GR86 this go-around. Toyota hasn’t revealed the GR86 yet, though Subaru has shown us its sister car, the 2022 BRZ. And while the original BRZ was sold in the U.K., the new one apparently won’t be. Weird.

I suppose it’s no great loss, as you really don’t need both of the Toyobaru twins — one should suffice. Though I’m left wondering why and how Subaru found it so difficult to market the BRZ over there. It could have something to do with Subaru’s being a rather low-volume brand in the UK that doesn’t handle its own distribution in the territory. It’s licensed out to International Motors.

It also might have something to do with an image problem. John Hurtig, Subaru’s UK managing director, related as much to Autocar a few weeks ago in an interview about how terrible 2020 went:

“Subaru UK has made a lot of mistakes in the past, to build Subaru’s brand to be something it isn’t any more,” said Hurtig. “[The Impreza] was a performance car, a rally car. It was a good era in UK. But it’s history; it’s a long time ago now. It has nothing really to do with the Subaru brand as it is today.”

If Subaru can’t see a path to selling the WRX in the UK — a vehicle that’s about as practical as enthusiast cars get — it’s hard to imagine it could ever rationalize the BRZ.

Again, as long as the Toyota and Subaru duo are once again the same, save for some exterior differences, the BRZ’s absence shouldn’t matter much. We know the BRZ packs a 228-horsepower, 2.4-liter flat-four and the option of either a 6-speed manual or auto. It’s supposedly much more rigid, with a lower center of gravity, and it weighs no more than its predecessor despite those improvements.

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Still, this is so odd to me. Usually, it’s those of us on the other side of the pond that miss out on cool, small, fast cars. Y’all aren’t getting the next Nissan Z either! Honestly, I really would feel bad for you — if you didn’t have the GR Yaris.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. 2017 Fiesta ST. Wishes NASCAR was more like Daytona USA.

DISCUSSION

TheSchrat

I know this is tangential to the Toyobaru twins, but it’s my comment and I’ll go on a tangent if I want to.

It’s funny to me: almost every car enthusiast I knew when I lived in the UK spoke very highly of the WRX — it certainly has a following amongst petrolheads there — what did Subaru do to squander all that?