Toyota and Subaru are taking their collaborative forces further. The two Japanese companies announced Thursday they will jointly develop an electric vehicle platform that will underpin a new SUV.
The platform will support a compact SUV, per the announcement, and both Toyota and Subaru will eventually produce a version of the vehicle. The companies said each will bring their expertise to the engineering table to develop the platform. Subaru will be responsible for the all-wheel-drive system and how it integrates with Toyota's know-how of electric powertrains, batteries, and motors.
2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid - First Drive, Santa Barbara CA, Nov. 2019
The latest partnership is a big step for Toyota and Subaru. The two began working together in 2005 with various collaborative efforts. In 2012, the two ushered the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S (which later became the Toyota 86) into the world as a jointly developed sports car. Subaru also uses Toyota hybrid technology for its Crosstrek plug-in hybrid. Toyota owns a 16.77 percent stake in Subaru.
Both Toyota and Subaru said partnerships like this one are essential as the automotive industry continues a rather rapid upheaval. Emissions regulations continue to force automakers to adapt to new technologies such as mild-hybrid systems and greater electrification. Developing costly technology like electric powertrains and platforms is hardly inexpensive, which makes partnerships such as the Toyota-Subaru relationship increasingly common. Jaguar and BMW also announced a similar tie-up this month.
Eventually, the platform could spawn additional vehicles. Toyota said the architecture will be scalable, which may make it large enough to underpin mid-size sedans and SUVs.