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by Tim Beissmann

Subaru New Zealand has bitten the bullet, confirming it will add the rear-wheel drive BRZ sports coupe to its previously all-wheel drive line-up.

Subaru NZ managing director Wallis Dumper told the New Zealand Herald the BRZ would hit showrooms in 2012. “It will be in New Zealand next year. It’s a good car,” Dumper said.

Despite confirmation across the ditch, Subaru Australia remains tight-lipped on its decision on whether to launch the car here.

Subaru Australia’s David Rowley said confirmation from New Zealand did not change the local branch’s position to make its announcement on the car in the coming days in the lead-up to Christmas.

Like Australia, New Zealand’s line-up comprises only all-wheel drive models, and the safety and performance benefits of these underpinnings are an important part of its brand message. As such, Dumper was faced by the same philosophical dilemma that currently confronts Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior, and ultimately decided the BRZ made sense for the New Zealand market.

But Rowley said New Zealand’s confirmation did not make Subaru Australia’s decision any easier. “New Zealand is vastly different to Australia,” he said. “We’ll concentrate on what’s best for our market.”

Rowley explained the Australian and New Zealand arms were “part of the same stable”, but said there was no relationship between them in terms of product decisions.

Senior appears to be warming to the notion of selling the BRZ in Australia, however. At the Tokyo Motor Show, he told CarAdvice rear-wheel drive is “in keeping with our brand” and “delivers driver confidence”, and described the BRZ as a “driver’s car”.




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