Following Honda’s surprise announcement earlier this month that it was pulling out of Formula One, we now have news that both Subaru and Suzuki will be withdrawing from competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) next year. Once again, the global economic crisis is being blamed for the withdrawal, with motorsport events high up on the list of expenses carmakers are cutting as they attempt to boost profits.
"Our business environment has changed dramatically due to the rapid deterioration of the global economy," the boss of Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru’s parent company) Ikuo Mori told a news conference in Tokyo today. "In order to optimise the management resources and to strengthen the Subaru brand further, Fuji Heavy decided to withdraw from WRC activities at the earliest time."
With both Subaru and Suzuki out of the WRC, only Ford and Citroen remain for next year’s title, the latter already laying claim to the world champion title.
Subaru team boss David Richards had told Reuters earlier this week that Citroen, Ford and Subaru were all assessing their participation in the championship on an ongoing basis and that nothing could be taken for granted in the current climate.
The Subaru WRC team was established in 1989 and won the manufacturers' titles in 1995, 1996 and 1997. The team came third in this year’s event.