TOKYO -- Does Subaru have a stealth marketing problem embedded in its BRZ sporty coupe?
The new car is the Subaru sibling of the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S. The companies developed the cars jointly, and except for some badging and front fascia differences, they are essentially clones.
Subaru engineers handled the drivetrain and chassis – mostly stuff the customer doesn't see. Toyota designers, on the other hand, took control of the overall styling.
And while each brand slaps its own logo on the hood and trunk, Toyota's designers gave both incarnations a subliminal reminder of which parent was responsible for its flashy looks.
One of the more striking common features is the rear combination lamp centered between the twin tailpipes. A red, inverted-triangle fog lamp bisects a cross bar of two white reverse lamps.
By itself, the red triangle draws inspiration from the rear safety light on Formula One racers that mark the car's center line and reference plane. It is supposed to look sporty.
But Toyota's design department says the combined light element has another meaning:
"The inverted triangle stands for Toyota's 'T' shape. With the T motif, we aim to express our identity," an official told Automotive News at the Tokyo Motor Show, where both cars debuted.
I'm sure that works for Toyota … but Subaru?