Car & Driver voted Toyota’s FT-86 as one of the 25 cars worth waiting for. It seems like the wait will be a little longer than anticipated. Toyota had shown their sports car concept at many motor shows, from Tokyo to Beijing (but not in New York.) Of course, this was read as an imminent launch of the little brute. 2011 model year, hopefully. Mid 2011, maybe. Wrong. Not even close.
And there, C&D had already floated that the FT86 would revive the Celica nameplate, that the initial version would come with a puny 170hp engine (with a 230hp blown version to follow) and that the price would be a tad over $20,000 in Japan. Later, Autocar was sure that the price would be a bit higher, say $23,000. A FT86Club appeared on the net that said that “in terms of target demographic, Toyota has now upped the increased target buyer age from 30’s to the 40’s.” They all sounded as if they already had the dealer kit.
According to a report from Japan’s Best Car Magazine (via 7Tune), the release date of the FT-86 has been shifted back two years, which could mean 2013. Maybe. According to Best Car, the reasons are that the design is being revised, and that Toyota thinks there may be a better time than now to release a sports car.
A call to Toyota HQ elicited a not too surprising “as a policy, we do not comment on future cars.” The way it was said makes me think that Best Cars has it right this time. From what I’m hearing, the second reason (not the right time) is the real one. In any case, a Toyota insider had warned me not to expect too many product launches in Japan in the near future. Domo. I won’t.