Europe Bids Farewell to Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ: The Reasons Behind the Demise

New safety rules claim the Toyobaru’s end, while the Miata prevails.

Revised:In Europe, automakers often face the unfortunate reality of discontinuing their beloved performance cars due to stricter emissions regulations. This time, it is not just environmental concerns but also upcoming safety legislation that will lead to the end of Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ. The new regulations, known as General Safety Regulations 2 (GSR2), will unfortunately be the final blow for the cherished Toyobaru, set to take effect this year.

According to recent email correspondences with Motor1, both car manufacturers have officially stated that their rear-wheel-drive sports coupes will soon no longer be offered for sale in Europe. Patrick Scheelen, Senior Manager of Lexus and Toyota Gazoo Racing Communications, has confirmed that the initial plan to market the GR86 in Europe for a limited two-year period is still being followed. He further elaborated that the company has no plans to alter the low-cost performance vehicle to meet GSR2 regulations.

Jürgen Ehlenberger, Subaru Head of Marketing Services and Corporate Communications, stated that “After 2024, there will be no more Subaru BRZ in Europe.” He also confirmed that the sale of remaining stock vehicles will occur in 2024.

In December 2021, Toyota made the announcement that the second-generation GR86 would be available in Europe for a limited time of two years. Due to the new safety regulations, the car would need to undergo a complete re-engineering process. However, from a business standpoint, this was not a feasible option as the GR86 is a niche product in Europe and other markets. Toyota’s collaboration with Subaru to share costs highlights the challenges of creating a sustainable business model for a sports car. This also applies to the Supra, which is essentially a BMW Z4 coupe.

According to an article written by Joe Clifford for the official Toyota UK Magazine, it has been suggested that if Toyota were to invest in improving the GR86, it would no longer be the beloved sports coupe that drivers know and love. Clifford reports that the company has stated that altering the vehicle “would detrimentally affect the dynamic character of the car” and ultimately result in it no longer being the same car.

The implementation of the GSR2 standard will not only prohibit Toyota and Subaru from accepting new orders for the GR86 and BRZ, but it will also prevent the sale of any existing inventory. As a result, the window for purchasing these vehicles is rapidly diminishing, as the manufacturers will be less inclined to maintain stock in their possession.

It will be a melancholy occasion as the Toyobaru bids farewell to Europe, including the United Kingdom. However, there is some hopeful news. Fanatics can take solace in the fact that the MX-5 will remain available after 2024. A spokesperson for Mazda has confirmed that the cherished Miata will continue to be sold, despite its age.

To refresh our memory, the ND generation made its debut in September 2014 featuring a fabric roof, while the hardtop RF was introduced in March 2016. In the time since, the compact convertible sports car has undergone two significant updates – the ND2 in 2018 and the ND3 in 2023. According to MX-5 Program Manager Shigeki Saito, there are exciting special editions in the works.

According to recent reports, the introduction of the GSR2 implementation is expected to have a significant effect on the accessibility of a popular European sports car. In a previous interview with Autocar, Robert Bonetto, the vice president of engineering at Alpine, revealed that the vehicle does not meet the requirements for the new active safety homologation standards. As a result, the Renault-owned brand has announced that there will be limited options for the car’s sales in Europe. In line with Toyota’s stance, Alpine maintains that the necessary modifications to comply with the standards would be financially unfeasible for the A110. Additionally, the brand argues that the costs incurred would not be recovered by the time the car’s production ends in 2026.

Despite its uncertain future, the Alpine A110 will continue to be available for sale in Europe. Thanks to a unique two-year waiver, the company is permitted to sell up to 1,500 units per year without restriction.

One more prominent passing in Europe in 2021, though not related to automobiles, is the original Porsche Macan. The petrol-powered SUV is saying its final goodbye as it cannot comply with an upcoming cybersecurity law known as GSR2. This legislation will take effect in July and has prompted Ben Weinberger, representative for Macan and Cayenne, to announce via email to Motor1 that production of the model will be ending.

“In the European Union and certain states that adopt EU laws, the Macan with a combustion engine will not be accessible for an indefinite period of time. The primary factor for this is the General Safety Regulation of the European Union, which also covers cybersecurity, and the platform will not be updated to comply with it. As a result, any Macan models that do not meet these standards will no longer be permitted for new registration in the EU starting from July 2024.”

The first and foremost rule is to maintain the exact quoted text: “This applies not only to the Macan with an internal combustion engine, but to all models from all manufacturers, and this regardless of whether it is an e-vehicle or one with an internal combustion engine.” This means that not only the Macan, but all other models from different manufacturers, whether they are electric or internal combustion engines, are subject to the same rule. As a result, the sale of the Macan with an internal combustion engine is expected to be discontinued in the EU during the spring season. This ensures that the vehicles can be delivered to customers and registered by the given deadline. However, in regions where the relevant EU legislation is not applied, the Macan with an internal combustion engine may still be available for a longer period of time.

On July 6, 2022, the European Union implemented the first phase of the new regulation, which prohibits the approval of cars that do not meet the standard. This marks the beginning of a countdown for all new vehicles, as the rules will apply to them starting from July 2024. The impact of this regulation is not limited to cars, but also extends to vans, trucks, buses, and other types of vehicles. According to Horiba Mira, a company specializing in vehicle engineering, testing, and development, as cited by Autocar, the new regulation, known as GSR2, encompasses a “massive list of around 100 regulations, depending on the type of vehicle. While some are amendments, there are approximately 20 to 25 new items that have been identified.”

Starting in July 2024, the inclusion of an Event Data Recorder, commonly referred to as a black box, will be required for all vehicles. This device will capture the events leading up to and after a crash, specifically recording the five seconds prior to impact and 0.3 seconds after. It will also analyze various factors such as the car’s speed, braking, and position, as well as the effectiveness of its safety systems, including the emergency call feature. This particular function, known as eCall, has been obligatory in the EU since April 2018.

According to the European Commission’s factsheet (found here), there are a number of new safety measures that have been put in place. These measures include lane keeping assistance, a tire pressure monitoring system, an emergency stop signal, and an attention warning for drivers who may be feeling drowsy. These measures are already in effect, but there are also plans for further improvements to be implemented by July 2029. These improvements will include enhanced safety glass, advanced driver distraction warning systems, longer-lasting tires, and improved direct vision to provide better visibility of cyclists and pedestrians.

It is highly likely that the cost of cars will continue to rise in Europe. The implementation of updated hardware and software to meet regulatory standards will undoubtedly lead to increased expenses for car manufacturers, which will in turn be reflected in higher prices for consumers. In our view, smaller cars could be particularly vulnerable to this trend, as the incorporation of advanced safety technology may make them unaffordable for many buyers.

Sources: Toyota, Subaru, Mazda

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