In a press interview at the Tokyo Auto Salon last month, the next President of Toyota Motor Co. Akio Toyoda was asked many questions about where Toyota was heading and also one question which might be of particular interest to Japanese sports car enthusiasts. “How’s the development coming along regarding the sports car jointly developed with Subaru?” His reply to the question was answered fairly assuredly in 3 parts.
The car has been codenamed internally as 086A, an obvious homage to the legendary AE86 Corolla.
Project Moving Ahead
Despite some reports to the contrary, the Toyota/Subaru compact FR sports car was not cancelled (even partially) and will continue to go ahead. It is seen as a vital part of Toyota’s “rejuvenation” efforts and reflects the company’s desire to develop a car that appeals to the younger generation of car enthusiasts. Having a FR sports car at the entry level end of the market is Toyota’s way of cementing its image as an rejuvenated car company and will surely dominate the segment as its competitors struggle to keep up.
Codename: “086A”, Delayed Production
Development of the body and chassis is complete and we’re told the development code for the new FR sports car is “086A”. The numerals “86″ should make fans of the now legendary AE86 Sprinter Trueno/Corolla Levin happy as it’s rumored that the numbers will be carried over as the chassis designation. It was thought that the freeze put on construction of the new Subaru factory slated to produce the Toyota/Subaru sports car was the main reason for delays in production, but this is actually in no way related and the real reason for the delay. Production will be postponed for several months so that D-4S direct injection can be applied to the flat-4 boxer engine. Production will now be postponed until March 2012.
Akio Toyoda also confirmed that the price of the Toyota/Subaru compact sports car is still 2,000,000 yen and that there will be no changes to the original plan to build an affordable entry-level sports car. The car is seen to be a formidable model when it joins Toyota’s line up as it will surely push the boundaries of a market segment occupied by front wheel drive compact cars.
Across the internet people are still skeptical of the car ever seeing the end of a production line. Montreal commenter Lohik23 had this to say:
If they release a car that looks like that, it’ll be the end of the world. Why? Because Toyota will have released a car that is beautiful, fast, rear wheel drive and just generally appealing to young people. It’s seems like this goes against everything Toyota now stands for.
Unfortunately this seems to be the case. The coolest ‘youth focused’ car Toyota has made in the last 10 years is the Toyota bB/Scion xB, and they didn’t bother shipping it anywhere but Japan and the USA. Seriously Toyota, the younger buyers want to buy a cool car from your company. Make it safe and fun with all the newest features and im sure you will earn another generation of brand-loyal drivers for decades to come. Just take the AE86 as an example….. so yes, we WANT the 086A, but please please PLEASE drop the boxer engine… If you are truly trying to make the venerable hachiroku’s little brother, why not be true to it’s winning engineering feat, the 4A-GE.
Thanks to Justin Karow from 7TUNE for most of the info. The boys over there have just re-designed their blog so be sure to check their fresh new threads out!