• Feb 23rd 2009 at 7:58PM
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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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