The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru vehicles, will postpone its release of a hybrid car in 2006 due to cost issues in its current design.
Fuji Heavy had been developing a hybrid car using its own powertrain, although the possibility of a Toyota-Fuji Heavy hybrid alliance emerged earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The earlier report suggested that under the potential partnership, Toyota would supply its hybrid drive system to Fuji Heavy in return for Fuji Heavy supplying Toyota with advanced lithium-ion batteries for use in hybrids.
Fuji Heavy makes only some 590,000 vehicles a year—too low a volume for it to cost-effectively develop its own hybrid technology, which is the path the company has been taking.
According to the latest report, Fuji Heavy has not managed to reduce the production cost of its own hybrid system to the point of being commercially viable, and so is giving up on rolling out the hybrid on the original schedule.
The automaker is now reportedly turning to Toyota’s hybrid technology, with a revised plan of debuting the Subaru hybrid in 2008.
GM is Fuji Heavy’s top shareholder, but the GM-DaimlerChrysler dual-mode hybrid technology under development apparently does not fit the application (or the timing) Fuji Heavy has in mind.