To some, cars are appliances; a way to get you to from point A to point B. For others, cars are an emotional experience; actually enjoying getting from point A to point B, with a smile on your face when you start the engine. For the most part Toyota has made appliances; soulless vehicles. That kind of worry-free (except for all the recalls….but we digress) nature appeals to a lot of people. But, for a brand to thrive and do well it needs to attract all types; enthusiasts that are excited about what the company is doing.
Models aimed at enthusiasts helped create a trickle down effect for the rest of the company. Apparently, Toyota has realized this and is putting an effort into making its cars more fun to drive. The 86 (Scion FR-S), co-developed with Subaru, is the first example of this. The first, but not the only, if chief engineer Tetsuya Tada has anything to do with it.
Speaking with, Tada said he sees a three-tier Toyota sports car lineup. The 86 would sit in the middle, with a smaller car below it (MR2, Celica?) and a new full-on sports car as a successor to the Supra. It’s about time Toyota got back into this segment! A new Supra would likely go head-to-head with the Nissan 370Z. Nothing has been confirmed, but if Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda really means what he says about radical change at Toyota, we think its a good bet.
Tada said Toyoda was keen on doing the project “if the numbers added up.” Auto companies do the best when there is a car guy at the top pushing through projects that are truly appealing. Toyoda was apparently very involved with the development of the 86, so this shouldn’t be any different. One thing is for sure: we know bean counters and design-by-committee teams just never work out well in the auto industry.