Attracting Attention - 2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Road Test

2013 Subaru BRZ: Attracting Attention

May 14, 2013

2013 Subaru BRZ

You knew this wouldn't take long. The Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are attracting attention in automotive executive suites, enough that GM North America president Mark Reuss wants Chevy to develop an inexpensive, lightweight rear-wheel-drive car.

Reuss told Automotive News that the Code 130R, a RWD concept coupe shown at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, drew strong feedback from young attendees. The success of The Twins has likely reignited discussions about tapping into what is still a small sandbox.

Scion has sold about 6,300 FR-S models this year. Subaru has sold about 2,600 BRZs. For perspective, the FR-S is, to date, Scion's best seller. And it only undersells the Lexus IS by a few hundred units.

Why the gap then, when the BRZ's base price is only about $1,000 more than the Scion?

Well, for one thing $1,000 is healthy scratch for the young adults that Mark Reuss wants to reach. That's a new exhaust or set of wheels. Also, Scion has nearly twice the dealers that Subaru does, so availability is an issue.

And don't discount Scion's well-greased lifestyle marketing machine. All the rally-racing pedigree in the world means little when your frenemy curates graffiti art shows and sponsors electronic music festivals.

Can Chevy hit the sweet spot? Low to mid-$20,000s? Maybe put 30-40 horsepower distance on the Twins through turbocharging? With Chevy's reach, there are no worries about availability. Reuss tells AN that GM probably wouldn't build the coupe on the existing platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS, but rather something more "scalable." Maybe that's a shrunken version of the Zeta platform, which currently underpins the Camaro and may be retired when the next-gen Camaro jumps platforms.

Together the FR-S and BRZ have sold nearly 9,000 units this year. Those aren't wild bread-and-butter numbers, but they are too big for auto execs to ignore.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 14,600 miles


Comments

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Hehehe thank you Mr. Toyoda, for resuscitating this segment! Add some more competition and there's only going to be good things for us consumers. Also, what a perfect time for Mazda to have a new Miata in the works.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    It would still be somewhat strange for Chevy to enter this market, particularly because the Camaro outsells the Toyobaru twins by a large margin. Maybe it's more of a hedge bet, but 9000/year isn't a huge number, particularly since the Toyobaru has that niche all to itself, currently.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    3 things. 1) This is certainly easier said than. GM's memory can't be so short as to forget the Sky and Solstice. Those cars has some charms but were seriously flawed and sold in small number, and that's when the only competition was the Miata. 2) And, how big can this segment get? There's not a huge market out there. What's the market? 20,000 annually? 30,000 tops? You want to start dividing that up across the Miata, FR-s, BRZ and one or two from GM. We're talking low numbers. 3) The FR-S is probably selling better because there are many more Scion/Toyota dealers than Subaru. Also, the BRZ does not fit in with Subaru's marketing or reputation n the US at all. Subaru advertising still states that AWS is what makes a Subaru a Subaru. If this car were selling as a Toyota, they'd be moving even more of them.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I agree with Legacy. a small, RWD sports car is not really what the typical Subaru customer wants. Subaru has built its rep on AWD sedans and wagons, like the Forester I bought from the local dealer in 2007. Here in the Liberal bastion of Evanston, IL it often seems like there are a couple of Foresters and a Legacy on every block (along with a Mark IV Jetta). But I have yet to see a single BRZ.

  • benson2175 benson2175 Posts:

    The thing is the GM car will be a flop because GM doesn't get it. All the swoopy styling and marketing hype couldn't save the terribly engineered Solstice.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    All you'd have to do is Photoshop some tracks and a 75mm gun onto the Code 130R and you'd have a Sherman tank. Or leave off the tracks and you've got the USS Monitor. Who designs these cars? If the beltline were any higher it would look like Steve Urkel.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I'm hoping if it does happen it doesn't look like the 130R. I'd be surprised if this actually did happen, but I hope it does. As it is now the Camaro and Mustang outsell this segment by incredible margins, but if fuel prices go up again I can see that all changing very very fast. If fuel prices go up, the small RWD coupe segment could grow from buyers who would have otherwise wanted a Camaro or Mustang but couldn't afford the gas.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Because the Solstice was so awesome...

  • huisj huisj Posts:

    Can the Camaro's platform really be scaled down to a point where it's actually light weight? That platform is beastly.

  • opfreak opfreak Posts:

    I like how people are ripping on the solstice 2005[7] 5,445 2006[8] 19,710 2007 16,779 2008[9] 10,739 2009[10] 5,642 2010 7,409 Lets also list the sky 2006[5] 8,671 2007 11,263 2008[6] 9,162 2009[7] 3,399 Over 6 years, they sold 100k cars, averaging 16370 cars/year. nothing stellar, but not the end of the world like some posters here are making it out to be.

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    Why would Chevy even care about this market? It doesn't seem large enough for them to build a new model. If they did want to compete in it they'd probably make a successor to the Cobalt SS -- such as a Cruze SS or Sonic SS -- and call it done.

  • gtfrank1 gtfrank1 Posts:

    Subaru is limited under contact as to how many BRZ's they can sale. I had to wait 4 months to get mine.

  • gtfrank1 gtfrank1 Posts:

    GM should just put the development money from the 130 R into making the Camaro Lighter and better. This concept is destine to fail.

  • gregnv gregnv Posts:

    Can you say Beretta?

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