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Toyota Reportedly Planning Radical, 3-Seat Sports Car

Concept said to be on tap for Tokyo Motor Show.

by on May.27, 2015

Toyota has been studying a number of extreme options, including the i-Road commuter car.

Ever since he came onboard as the top executive at a company long known for its sturdy and reliable – but plain vanilla – products, Akio Toyoda has been pressing his team to pump some “passion” into its line-up.

Toyota has offered some hints of what’s in store with concepts like the exotic FT-1, as well as more stylish production models such as the Lexus RC coupe. But now, it seems, the Japanese giant is ready to take things to the next level.

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A variety of sources have indicated that Toyota will roll out a new sports car concept at the Tokyo Motor Show next October. But this isn’t just a new version of the Lexus RC – or even a production version of the FT-1. The open-wheeler apparently will have room for three and use a high-performance hybrid drivetrain.


Toyota Produces Second FT-1 Concept Sports Car

Fans relying on Gran Turismo 6 to test rumored Supra replacement.

by on Aug.14, 2014

The FT-1 concept from Toyota gets a new look with a graphite exterior and a saddle interior.

The buzz for a new Toyota Supra just went up a couple of decibels today as the automaker revealed a new version of its ballyhooed FT-1 concept car in California with a graphite exterior and saddle-colored interior.

The original FT-1 debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January in a bold red with a black leather interior. Officials were adamant that it was merely a design exercise. In fact, it didn’t even have a working engine in it. The show car borrowed a Ferrari trick, mounting a powertrain under a transparent panel.

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However, the appearance of a second edition, developed by Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, California, after the company teased fans by allowing a computerized version to appear in racing video game Gran Turismo 6, is only going to whet the appetites of Supra fans even more. (more…)

Toyota Hints of “Passionate” Design Future with FT-1 Sports Car Concept

“5-alarm visual impact,” but no clear production plans.

by on Jan.13, 2014

Toyota delivers a surprise as it unveils the FT-1 sports car concept during the Detroit show's opener.

Forget the fuel economy numbers and the environmentally friendly products it normally talks about. When Toyota rolled into town for this year’s North American International Auto Show, it had muscle on its corporate mind.

Toyota delivered one of the big – if many – surprises to come from this year’s Detroit Auto Show as it revealed the new FT-1 sports car concept, which a senior executive described as “emblematic” of the more “passionate” direction the maker will take with its styling going forward.

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While many of the makers launching new products at this year’s Detroit Auto Show gave reporters a sneak peek at what they were planning, the Japanese giant maintained a strict curtain of silence which led to even more speculation about what might be in store.  Many observers were expecting to see the return of the once-popular Toyota Supra.


First Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S

Toyota CEO says he wants more passion and this new sports car delivers.

by on Nov.08, 2012

The Scion FR-S fills a noticeable void in the market - the affordable rear-wheel drive sports car with somewhat useful interior space..

In recent years, if you wanted a true sports car, your only choices were to accept a car based a front-wheel drive econobox or cash in your 401(k) to buy a real sports car putting its power to the rear wheels.

No more. Subaru and Toyota – a seemingly unlikely pair to create this car – got together to develop what is essentially the Holy Grail of fun cars – the affordable sports car.

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Think about it. Subaru, known for its variety of sensible all-wheel drive cars with just one performance-oriented model, the WRX, wants to build a car that is completely out of its element, a RWD sports car. Knowing it couldn’t justify the investment without a partner, the small Japanese automaker approached giant Toyota, known recently more for its fuel-sipping hybrids, but with a somewhat forgotten history of performance machines.

Together, they created a masterpiece, a car to be celebrated by everyone who enjoys driving, but wasn’t born with a trust fund in his mouth.


First Look: Toyota 86

Americans will see the results of new alliance with Subaru marketed as the Scion FR-S.

by on Nov.30, 2011

Toyota finally reveals the production version of its new sports car - to be called 86 in Japan and Scion FR-S in the States.

Nearly four years in the making, Toyota has finally pulled the wraps off the 2-seat sports car it has developed as part of a joint venture with the smaller Japanese automaker Subaru.

Targeted at the small, affordable sports car niche now dominated by the long-lived Mazda Miata, Toyota will call the new model the Toyota 86, a reference to the maker’s legendary AE86 Corolla of the 1980s.  The sports car will actually go by a variety of different names.  The Japanese will also know it as the Hachiroku, while it will go with the moniker Toyota GT-86 in Europe — and appear under the Scion FR-S badge in the States.

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Whatever you prefer, the 2-seater is a low-slung design that was developed as part of a tandem effort that appears to have put the emphasis on Toyota design and Subaru technology – such as the so-called 2.0-liter boxer inline-four engine both manufacturers will share.  But the lines are a bit blurry, insiders stress, Toyota, for example, reportedly kicking in its fuel delivery system.


First Look: Scion FRS-86 Concept

“Friggin’ really sweet,” suggests Scion chief Hollis.

by on Apr.20, 2011

Scion boss Jack Hollis reveals the FRS-86 Concept.

There’s no denying Scion General Manager Jack Hollis is one very enthusiastic executive, so it took the corporate legal beagles from letting him write the press release explaining the logic behind the name of the maker’s new FRS-86 Concept.

“Friggin’ Really Sweet,” Hollis proclaimed during the Scion sport car’s unveiling.  Oops, never mind, he quickly said.  The barristers prefer the more officious Front-engine, Rear-drive Sport, with the “86” borrowed from the legendary Toyota AE-86 Corolla of a quarter century ago.

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The FRS-86 is no retro-mobile.  It’s a decidedly edgy show car that might take by surprise skeptics who expect plain vanilla design out of Toyota and its various brands.  Visually, the sports car boasts a gull-wing shaped roof, a trapezxoidal rear end and striking, almost sci-fi style headlamps.  The 20-inch wheels are eight inches wide up front and 10 in the rear, and incorporate the brake rotors.

Developed in a joint venture with Subaru – which Toyota holds a major share in – the sports car is aimed at rebuilding the market effectively left to Mazda’s little Miata, these days.  The FRS-86 takes advantage of the smaller maker’s low-slung boxer engine, which permit the powertrain to be mounted low and rearward.


Toyota, Subaru to Reveal Jointly-Developed Sports Car in Geneva

A "reborn passion" for sports cars.

by on Jan.26, 2011

Toyota hints at what's to come in Geneva.

Struggling to overcome not only its safety-related problems but a reputation for building boring appliances, Toyota hopes to demonstrate a “reborn passion” with the roll-out of its FT-86 sports car at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

For those who think of the automaker in terms of models like the Sienna minivan and Camary sedan the unveiling could deliver some surprises – especially considering that the FT-86 is the product of a significant new joint venture with smaller Japanese maker Subaru.

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That company will also view for the attention of a harried press corps, on media preview day, with its own version of the new rear-drive model, which it recently referred to as the tongue-tiring, “Subaru Rear-Wheel-Drive Sports Car Technology Concept.”  (Insiders promise the production version will adopt a name that can fit on a badge.


Toyota’s Toyoda: Industry Needs Reinvent Itself

Giant automaker also fast-tracking new, affordable sports car.

by on Aug.05, 2009

The auto industry "needs to reinvent itself," says Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda, though his company's push into green power won't prevent it from launching a new, "affordable" sports car.

The auto industry "needs to reinvent itself," says Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda, though his company's push into green power won't prevent it from launching a new, "affordable" sports car.

The auto industry is “set to make its biggest transformation in 100 years.” declared the head of Toyota Motor Co., during a meeting with industry leaders, Wednesday.

With global demand for oil rapidly approaching the point where it exceeds production capacity, Akio Toyoda, heir to the giant automaker’s founding family, warned that the industry is “back where we began, 100 years ago,” when the fledgling car business was looking for the most effective form of power.

“It calls for true breakthroughs,” said Toyoda, who recently assumed his post as president of Toyota. “We must reinvent the automobile.”

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Speaking to several 100 industry leaders attending the annual Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, Michigan, Toyoda said this reinvention will require a higher degree of cooperation among erstwhile competitors.

Toyota has tried to position itself at the forefront in the switch to greener power, a transformation similar to what pioneers like Henry Ford first faced, when it was unclear whether gasoline, steam or battery power would take the lead. But while petroleum ultimately won out, Toyoda asserted that, in the future, “There (will be) no one solution…but the need for many, because energy solutions that work for Traverse City may not be the best for Shanghai or Sydney or Sao Paolo.