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. (Read More…)
With rumors coming in that Toyota is repositioning its planned FT-86 “Toyobaru” sports coupe to reflect higher price and higher buyer age targets, word around the enthusiast fring of the autoblogosphere has been downright apocalyptic. After all, the promised combination of a $20k base price, manual transmission and rear-wheel-drive were what launched the FT-86 to internet notoriety. But development overruns are a fact of life, and Toyota says it has no choice but to bump the FT-86’s projected price point to $23k base, $26k loaded-level. So while the FT-86 faces the bloat that comes with a more upmarket target, another sports coupe aimed at undercutting the FT-86’s prices by about $5k is already under development according to Road & Track.
Already a good year into its hype-cycle, Toyota’s much-discussed FT-86 sports coupe is apparently losing some of the focus that made it an instant (theoretical) hit with enthusiasts. According to Autocar, Toyota has given up on its price point goal of $20,000 for a base model in the Japanese market, bumping MSRP targets to $23k for a base model and $26k for loaded examples. No word on how this will affect US-market prices, which Toyota has never disclosed goals for. And if this were the only news coming out of FT-86-land, we might have ignored it altogether. Sadly though, the price shift reflects larger trends within the FT-86’s development, none of which are wildly promising from the perspective of the enthusiasts that this car was allegedly being built for.
Oh how quickly things change! Just weeks ago, if you’d asked the average well-informed consumer what Toyota needed to change with its strategy, you’d have been treated to a treatise on how Toyota’s quest for quality and mass-market appeal had reduced its brand to signifying snooze-inducing appliances. Indeed, Toyota’s new CEO has emphasized enthusiasm as an area for improvement, waxing eloquent about the “splendid flavor” of the sporty vehicles Toyota doesn’t offer. Accordingly, Toyota is launching a sporting sub-brand àlá BMW’s “M” or Volkswagen’s new “R” line of high-performance vehicles according to Inside Line. Thanks to Toyota’s descent into recall hell however, boosting the brand’s sporty credentials is suddenly of highly debatable utility.
“Scion is pretty much a North American brand, so that is why it is very natural to think more development, more design work, should be done in North America,” Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota Motor North America tells Automotive News [sub]. In other words, fans of Scion’s first generation of JDM confections who railed against second-gen bloat are probably out of luck. Sure, model four in the Scion lineup will be the iQ minicar, which is small and weird enough to have been a member of the Scion invasion team, but after that? It’s all bloat and bigger blind spots from here on out. It’s what America wants.
Cars are not a mere means of mobility. They respond to the driver’s will; they turn, speed up, slow down. Naturally, there’s a need for excitement…Of course, eco-friendly cars are a prerequisite for the future, but there must be more than that. Morizo cannot afford to lose. I will tackle the challenge of creating a car with even more splendid flavor than the Scirocco.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda blogging at his company’s Japanese marketing website Gazoo.com, as reported by Automotive News [sub]. Toyoda’s Scirocco killer? That has to be the FT-86 “Toyobaru” coupe. Interestingly, Inside Line reports that the Subaru version will have about 250 hp, AWD and will cost about $30k. In contrast, the $25k Toyota will be smaller, RWD and only 200 hp. Smaller, lighter and RWD? Sounds like Toyota beat Subaru to the splendid flavor. [Hat Tip: Cammy Corrigan]