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.
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.
Specific details are sparse, and this teaser image, from Toyota, certainly doesn’t fill in many of the blanks.
The two models will share an all-new platform and also make use of a version of the familiar Subaru horizontally-opposed “Boxer” engine.
A 2+2 concept was first introduced at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. The production versions are expected to be priced in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, answering criticism of the last Toyota-badged sports car, which had pushed well past the “affordable” range.
Nonetheless, a release from Toyota claims the FT-86 will demonstrate its “reborn passion for sports car driving.”
The tie-up of Subaru and Toyota was set in motion when the bigger maker bought out a 9% share of Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries sold off by General Motors. Toyota has since expanded that to an 18% stake.