When was the last time Toyota produced a car enthusiasts could get excited about? Keep thinking, it's been a while. The company that once challenged US muscle cars with its 300-horsepower Supra could be back in relatively sporty trim by 2011. Toyota released images this week of a show car called the FT-86 concept, a rear-wheel-drive coupe recalling the Toyota AE86 of the 1980s, best known in the US as the Corolla. Yes, that was back when the Corolla was a kind of poor-man's sports car.
A product of Toyota's ED2 styling studio in France, the FT-86 concept recalls the earlier, hybrid-powered FT-HS concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show in 2007. This version doesn't get the hybrid, but it does get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine -- whose pistons are positioned horizontally instead of vertically -- from Subaru, of which Toyota is part owner. The FT-86 will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, with a production model reportedly set go on sale in late 2011. The Associated Press reports it will cost about 3 million yen ($33,700).
Welcome the New Toyota Celica.....
Even if this car shows up in the showrooms unadulterated by the soul-sucking Toyota Production System, Toyota needs more than one car to prove it can build exciting cars. They keep trying, give 'em credit, throwing cubic dollars at NASCRAP and Formula One, building non sequitors like the Lexus IS-F, but at the end of the day the quintessential Toyota is a dead pigeon gray Corolla or Camry that is blessed (!) with numb steering and sluggish reflexes, cursed by Toyota's relentless pursuit of isolation.
There's a reason Toyota systematically purged cars like the MR2, Supra and Celica from its lineup: they went full-bore after the bland middle of the market, the large demographic that values appliance-grade qualities above all else. Just look at how the Corolla evolved from that AE86 car over the past 20-odd years... that's Toyota in a nutshell.
The big money is not in "Exciting" cars. That's precisely why Toyota is the world leader in today's global automotive industry. They build the most funtional, stable, reliable, durable, forward-thinking, efficient cars... simple.
Those qualities are what counts at the end of the day for any buyer when they're shelling out $500 a month for a car. "Excitement", "driving pleasure", etc are all subjective and personal taste.
No amount of Mustangs, Camaros, Raptors, Challengers, blah-bah-blah are going to shore-up the american automakers until they adopt the simple M.O. of Toyota and Honda. Simple.
A car can be exciting to drive, powerful or whatever, but if it's poorly engineered it will not sell. Simple as that.
For example, without it's legendary durability, the corvette will not sell, but even then, there are not enough enthusiasts out there to make enough profits off of. This is the problem with Detroit - they have consistently focused on everything but the car segments that matter. They keep trying to hauk cars people don't REALLY need and wonder why they're not exactly flying off the lots in record numbers. The average driver would like, but has no need (or extra cash) for a Camaro/Challenger/Gas-Guzzling-Truck/etc/etc.
It's not rocket science. Toyota and Honda ar still making the same cars and slowly improving on the year over year. Making them better where it counts. How long have the civic, accord, camry, corolla, etc been around??? And how come there are still no serious contenders from Detroit in this segment???
When I see a Toyota billboard it's about a Prius or the New and improved Camry. When I see a big three billboard it's for truck with 10,000 lb capacity or 450HP this or that. Those have very little to do with the average consumer's needs.
Why do I even bother???
I think they keep geting uglyer
blaxpear - When I see a Toyota billboard it's about a Prius or the New and improved Camry.
Maybe you should think about if they would want their other cars to be blown up that large and have all the flaws seen? Besides why does a car have to be ugly and unresponsive for it to be considered a good car for the average consumer's needs? the only reason Toyota does well is the price, they have the worst ergonomically designed cars out of any, and you should go and look at the automotive stats again for who can compete and who is in the lead of sells.
Toyota "Oh What a Feeling" I disagree with comments! Toyota has always and I expect will continue to produce very capable, safe and pleasant vehicles that appeal to a wide market. Their cars are often ran as fleet cars ; this gives further testament to the quality and record of performance. This car is no different; it looks fantastic, has all the features we expect and is affordable in the middle price bracket. Toyota vehicles also hold their price very well on aftermarket sales.
Why do they still manufacture non hybrid, TWO door cars is still beyond me, however, to give Toyota its due, their after-sales support are impeccable and easily found.