Rumors have been swirling recently regarding a possible increase of Toyota's stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru's parent company. The formal announcement came today - Toyota Motor Corporation will control 16.5 percent of FHI, up from 8.7 percent currently - along with confirmation of a new joint venture between Subaru and Toyota.
The two Japanese companies will co-develop a compact, rear-wheel drive sports car to be marketed as both a Toyota and a Subaru. The new vehicle will make use of a Subaru boxer engine. Contrary to earlier rumors, the cars will get an all-new architecture and will not use that of the Subaru Impreza.
The Suyota (or Toybaru if you prefer) will be built in a new plant located alongside FHI's Gunma Oizumi Plant in Gunma prefecture, Japan, where Subaru builds engines and transmissions. The new facility should be operational by late 2011 with the pair of new models launching around the same time.
Subaru's last attempt at a sports car was the SVX of the 1990s, though that vehicle used all-wheel drive in typical Subaru fashion. Toyota sold the rear-wheel-drive MR2 Spyder in the U.S. until 2004, eventually killing the model altogether in 2007.