Subaru is preparing a rebadged Daihatsu Sirion to slot beneath the Impreza in its range - and the new 'mini could be on sale as early as the end of this year.
Toyota, Daihatsu's parent company, bought a 9% shareholding in Subaru's parent company in 2005. So the Daihatsu Sirion 1.0 is an obvious donor car; its £7500 starting price and 57mpg stretch the Subaru range down to a whole new budget marketplace. 'Subaru is looking to source a small car from Toyota,' admitted a spokesman. 'Discussions started last year and we expect an announcement at some point this year.'
The Japanese brand sells the Justy (a rebadged Suzuki Ignis) on the Continent, but it has never brought the car to the UK as it was too expensive. And Subaru's own R1, a K-class microcar for the Japanese market, was deemed too small for Europe. Sadly, Daihatsu no longer builds the Sirion Rally 4, the all-wheel-drive warm supermini that would have fitted well with Subaru's 4wd heritage.