Subaru was the first to trumpet a five-star ANCAP result, at a time when other makers shunned the system, and it is happy to have beaten the Toyota 86 as the two coupes shape up around the world.
"Five stars are central to our safety story and commitment. The testing was done in Japan, but it is a five star ANCAP rating," says Nick Senior, managing director of Subaru Australia.
Toyota admits it has been trumped this time but expects a similar five-star tick for the 86. "The car will be tested in the fullness of time and we're confident it will be five stars," says Mike Breen, spokesman for Toyota Australia.
The Colorado joins the Ford Ranger-Mazda BT50 twins, which were the first utes in the world to rate five stars, while the i30 continues Hyundai's recent crash-test successes and repeats the five-star score of the previous i30.
"It's satisfying to see manufacturers lifting the safety of light-commercial vehicles. Manufacturers have been incorporating greater levels of safety into passenger vehicles for some time now, yet the safety of LCVs has trailed," says ANCAP chairman, Lauchlan McIntosh.
“Pressure not only from ANCAP, but now big business, is encouraging manufacturers to elevate safety as a priority in the design and construction of new LCVs, and consumers are the winners." For Subaru, the ANCAP result is part of a push that has created a six-month waiting list for the BRZ.
The company is also taking a new approach to selling with the BRZ, trialing an online selling system for the hot coupe. "We don't see this is as fundamentally changing the nature of automative retailing overnight but it is a learning experience for us and we'll trial it for six months while we have this very,very low stock," says Senior.
“Our online initiative offers a fantastic level of transparency for BRZ customers. They will know exactly what the price is going to be and vehicle availability. They can choose their delivering dealership and can even arrange a trade-in valuation.
“We knew that we wouldn’t have sufficient BRZs to supply our entire network immediately following the launch.The online approach allows us to place demonstrator BRZs with selected dealerships, from which customers can arrange test drives via subaru.com.au and also select their preferred delivering dealer."
But Senior still cannot predict the Australian arrival of Subaru's next performance headliner, the all-new WRX. "That's still about a couple of years away before we see an all-new WRX and STi," he admits. "There's the halo effect of BRZ but WRX is still selling about 150 a month. We have about two months back-orders on WRX since the wide-body shape came in just on two years ago."
But one thing is certain, the WRX and STi will not follow the BRZ down the rear-wheel drive path. "BRZ is a unique departure. There is nothing in the product planning charts for another rear-wheel drive, or a front-wheel drive car. This is a one-off for us and I don't expect to see another," Senior says.