Hachiroku Madness: Only 1000 (FT)86, All Hand Made?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
hachiroku madness only 1000 ft 86 all hand made

Tomorrow, the Tokyo Motor Show will open its doors at the Big Sight to the press. Pre-show madness is running in high gear. Every Japanese carmaker tries to outdo the other with pre-releases and hints. Sometimes, they go wrong. Especially, when there are gullible counterparts. On Sunday, the (FT)86 fans at the enthusiast site ft86club.com received shocking news from their special correspondent Leeky who was dispatched to the unveiling at the Fuji Speedway.

“The car will be limited to 1000 units per year only.

Each car I can confirm will be hand made.”

This tidbit created outrage amongst the Hachiroku (86) fans. Many doubted the number and the production methods, but Leeky stuck to his guns:

“As I said, I am here as a guest of Toyota Japan with the head of advertising. These are the details that they have given me through all the questions I have been throwing at them. Hand made did indeed throw me for a second, so I asked again “Hand made!?”….”Yes, each one””

If Toyota Advertising really is so badly informed as Mr. Leeky alleges, no wonder that Tetsuya Tada, Chief Engineer of the (FT)86 a.k.a. Hachiroku had issues with his advertising department. In our sitdown interview on Sunday, Tada had remarked:

“When we first presented this idea to our advertising people, they were drastically opposed to this idea. They complained that the car doesn’t have a particularly fast time on the circuit, it does not use any new technology. They also could not think of a catchy headline for the catalogue.”

Also during the Sunday sitdown, Tada steadfastly refused to set any production or sales targets. When asked, he admitted that he has no idea of how many will sell:

“We usually do thorough market research and produce them accordingly. This is not the approach we are taking here. But I do believe that this car will be doing well.”

Not a word about 1,000 units / year limit. Not a word about handmade. Production is outsourced to Subaru which in turn outsourced its complete kei-car production to Toyota’s Daihatsu. It would have been a raw deal for Subaru if only 1,000 Hachiroku are made by hand, while some 80,000 Subaru minivehicles are made by Daihatsu.

By now, there are 19 pages of comments at FT86club.com, all focused on the shocking 1,000 handmade Hachiroku per year “FACT.”

To put the fans at ease, I called Keisuke Kirimoto, official spokesman of Toyota Motor Corporation. I asked him whether I had nodded off during the interview when those 1,000 handmade Hachiroku were announced. Kirimoto answered:


I told him that there are people who are under the impression that only 1,000 will be made per year. Kirimoto’s answer:

“Gee, I hope we will be selling more than that.”

Handmade? Please. The car will be made on a fully automated line at Subaru. Sure, that line is more suited for a “niche car” than the high volume lines at Toyota, Tada said, but nothing about handmade. This is an “affordably priced” car, and for that, you need more than artisians at a coachbuilder.

Shifting into official spokesperson mode, Keisuke Kirimoto officially confirmed that there are no production limits, and that they will sell as many as possible. In any case:

“Production plans and pricing will be released at a later date.”

Kirimoto asked me and the Hachiroku fanbase to keep in mind that what we saw on Sunday and what will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show is a “pre-production prototype”, and that the final car will be shown at its official market launch some time next year, along with pricing and possibly production targets.

Join the conversation
5 of 27 comments
  • Mike Mike on Nov 29, 2011

    I hate to be so pedantic, but I totally lost interest in this car once they axed the hatch/fastback. My Integra was a small coupe, but could transport my entire Ampeg SVT rig and then some, plus my drummer up front. I just don't get why this value-added feature was deleted from the final design. Makes no sense...

    • See 1 previous
    • Quentin Quentin on Nov 29, 2011

      Probably axed due to cost and weight targets. Big openings like the tC hatch naturally reduce chassis stiffness. This can be overcome by 2 ways: add metal to stiffen (and thus weight) or get rid of the hatch. Same goes for cost. It is more expensive to make a large door with the glass contained in it than it is to fix the glass in the body and make a light trunklid for the cargo area. I don't recall any version being a liftback, though. As far as I can tell, they've always been a fastback w/ trunklid.

  • Acuraandy Acuraandy on Nov 29, 2011

    In my oft-humble (ha!) opinion, I think TTAC along with the rest of the automotive press (and the people like me that follow it) have just been duped. With impending regulation from both the EPA and Euro enviro-nazis, it would make very little sense for Toyota to build more than 1,000/year due to carbon taxes. I REALLY hate to say it, but mark my words, this development proves this car will be so expensive due to 'market adjustment' that one would be crazy to buy it over...well...ANY Camaro/Challenger/Mustang/and..yes, Genesis Coupe. I HOPE I'M WRONG.

    • Xeranar Xeranar on Nov 30, 2011

      Um.....In what land are you living in? The EPA and the EU are two totally different governing bodies and Toyota has a track record of proving they can meet or exceed any emissions issue or MPG standard. Carbon taxes? Currently the Cap and Trade program is stalled due to corporate backing of right-wing politicians. Once again though if it were in place on individual cars it would certainly take the form of more CAFE regulations and not individual carbon taxes. The FT-86 with it's small displacement I-4 would have no problem meeting those. If anything due to fleet averages Toyota would want to make these at almost a loss to sell them if their SUVs/Trucks sold more in the US. In other words....You have your concept ass-backwards. :(

  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉
  • Kcflyer What Toyota needs is a true full size body on frame suv to compete with the Expedition and Suburban and their badge engineered brethren. The new sequoia and LX are too compromised in capacity by their off road capabilities that most buyers will never use.
  • ToolGuy Rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper, paper covers rock, and drywall dents sheet metal.