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Click above for a high-res gallery of the Toyota FT-HS concept

It wasn't that long ago that Toyota stood for more than just reliable, appliance-like transport. With roots that include the delectable 2000GT, the Celica all-trac and three generations of both the Supra and MR2, Toyota had – until recently – carved out a nice niche for itself populated by enthusiasts looking for something outside the performance mainstream. But in the past six years, the Priusification of ToMoCo has created an automaker whose soul focus has shifted from creating compelling products to the automotive equivalent of Maytag or KitchenAid. According to Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter, don't expect that concentration to change.

Carter told Automotive News that Toyota will put more of its efforts towards hybrid vehicles in the U.S., saying that Stateside consumers are more interested in "high-quality, fuel-efficient, low-impact-environment products." Carter went on to say that, "Personally, I would love to have a sporty car, but it is pretty clear what the market is looking for right now."

What that means for the Subaru/Toyota FR coupe's future in the U.S. remains to be seen, but it's doubtful that we'll be seeing a Supra successor in the near term. Ideally – or maybe more appropriately, idealistically – we could hope for something the melds both performance and green technology, like a production version of the FT-HS coupe concept that debuted in Detroit two years ago. But judging by the tone of the industry, and Carter in particular, we doubt that Toyota is ready to make that kind of segment-defying leap just yet. Maybe it'll take a hit from Honda to change Toyota's tune.


[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]


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  • 51 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      If only Toyota could get over their flabby styling.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I see the GT-r in it...if you look at the side.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So Toyota is only focusing on fuel-efficiency/hybrids b/c that is what the market is demanding. Just like the market in the mid-late 90's wanted hybrids, so that is why they developed and started the Prius?

      Right now, I think its more about money. Toyota is also hit with the bad market, doesn't have the cash to develop pet projects and low-volume high performance cars. I think if times were good, they'd want to add more sports-cars to their stable, as well as more hybrids. Only now, they can only focus on one.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You got it. Infact, just about every Japanese car-maker (except for Mazda perhaps...but the RX-7, RX-9 are just insider reports at this point) was the first to pull out of sports car development and racing programs to focus on their bread-and-butter crap and developing new hybrid vehicles.

        Personally, I prefer Honda approach to Hybrids. Cheap to buy, great mileage and a realization that Hydrogen is the future (Clarity).


        • 6 Years Ago
        Hydrogen is not the future. That is a farce the W administration implanted to hold of on real efficiency reform.
      • 6 Years Ago
      wait...toyota once chose performance over something?
        • 6 Years Ago
        LOL exactly. Whatever will we do now without sports machines like the Corolla XRS and the dozen "coming soon" Supras which are approved on Mondays and cancelled on Thursdays, every week
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Mr. Toyota, let's make a new sportscar in the spirit of the Supra and Celica? The internets seem to like it."

        "Tell you what, let's make another hybrid."

        "But..."

        "You are fired."
        • 6 Years Ago
        I mean... i'm sorry, i know toyota has made some nice cars in the past... just not in my generation. =)
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's what I was going to say. Since when was Toyota performance oriented in the slightest??
        • 6 Years Ago
        Three letters:
        I S F
      • 6 Years Ago
      Toyota == fail.

      Seriously, they have so many performance names to revive (Celica, MR2, Supra), and yet they continue to do this. I realize it's good to move forward, but holy crap... make a performance car! Right now, HYUNDAI has sportier cars than you, Toyota.

      HYUNDAI!
        • 6 Years Ago
        You know, I remember lots of people criticising the big 3 for putting all thier eggs in the "SUV basket". How is this any different? I thought Toyota was better than the Detroit automakers. They can't make a range of vehicles, practical, sporty, trucky, and economical? Why does every other car have to be a hybrid? Will talk about them putting all their eggs in the "hybrid basket" years from now?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wait...this is news?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm not understanding why Toyota is insisting here that one must choose between performance and effeciency. If simple lack of power breeds good fuel economy, then simply cut the gas engine displacement. The fact is, a hybrid powertrain has great potential to increase the performance of a vehicle, especially with the low end torque of the electric combined with higher end torque of the ICE.

      In all honesty, I don't think Toyota has that much insight as to what consumers want. They sell quite a few Camrys and Prius', but they have many, many other models that simply languish on the lots including the Scions and the endless and overlapping variety of SUVs. It makes little business sense to sell such a variety of models that don't do well in the marketplace. All of those models, and they still don't have anything I find attractive or desirable. Toyota has lost its way, as it doesn't sell a decent coupe anymore. Their small cars have cheap torsion beam suspensions and poor fuel economy (i.e. Scions, Matrix, etc.). I honestly don't think Toyota can identify and adapt to the marketplace anymore, thus explaining the bloated overlapping lineup of vehicles. The average age of Toyota owners is slowly increasing and the Toyota generation will soon be too old to drive. Oh to bring back the days of the Celicas and Supras of the 70's, 80's, and 90's.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Well put. They are becoming the new (old) Buick by average age of customer and like the rest of GM with too many models stepping all over their own feet. I will say I like the Venza though, it is very sharp in person. BMW and Mercedes have similar issues now with too much product overlap. They all need to adjust and simplify their product mixes down to what people know and love. Filling every little niche is a high cost low volume proposition that does not fit the new market reality. Consistency, brand name recognition, and a good reputation will make life easier for those who have it. People will buy the products they trust and are comfortable with during tough times.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Questioning the idea of making the FT-HS is a rather poor marketing decision on Toyota's plate, plain and simple.
      • 6 Years Ago
      WTF!
      So there won't be Supera in near future? I thought they were going all out and bring back Supera twin turbo. They haven't been exciting for long time, but Toyota moves are very disappointing and it's getting worse as they get bigger. What with this Toyota is going to currently boring to boring and geeky in future? Very disappointing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dude it's Supra, not Supera. I could handle it once but twice in the same comment just makes you sound like you don't know what you're talkin about. I agree with you though. Toyota had some fire in their lineup back in the day (not that I can remember back then, but I know it was there...) but now everything just sucks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      can they please tell me something i don't know?
      nissan seems to be the only Japanese brand still committed to performance...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mitsuoka just called as well...


        ...although nobody really cares. Oh well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nissan brand cars are significantly less cool because idiots like you like them.

        Unfortunate to see that Toyota truly has become an appliance manufacturer now. But I haven't been a Toyota fan since before Lexus existed. Ah well, I'm a Mazda fan simply because they've continued to make enjoyable driving machines that also have function. Or less so like in the case of my RX7, but that's hardly something to complain about when Toyota thinks hybrids are sporty...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Umm...Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi just called
      • 6 Years Ago
      Performance got Detroit in to the poor house.
        • 6 Years Ago
        no, bad cars (then) and a negative quality perception (now) got Detroit in the poor house. It doesn't help that Americans flock to the toyoda and honduh dealerships in droves to purchase their carpliance, yet ignore The 2.5 like the plague.
      • 6 Years Ago
      very nice post and all images on this post is very nice
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