2013 Subaru BRZ: Attracting Attention
May 14, 2013
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