Fuel costs shift Toyota product plans, FJ Cruiser and new Supra dead

The Detroit-based automakers aren't the only ones making rapid and dramatic changes to future product plans. Mighty Toyota is shifting its future mix directly in response to the reality on the ground. At the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, the company unveiled a hybrid powered coupe concept called the FT-HS. This coupe was believed to presage a revival of the Supra sports car that went away in 2002. It now appears that the Supra will remain dead in spite of the possibility of hybrid drive. This might have something to do with the lukewarm response that most performance oriented hybrids have received in the marketplace along with the need to increase fleet fuel economy. The general economic malaise also plays against a new premium sports car.

An existing product that won't see a successor is the FJ Cruiser. The FJ is a niche product in a rapidly shrinking SUV segment and the similarly sized 4Runner has already been redesigned for 2010 so the FJ will bite the dust. In the big trucks production is being slashed and smaller, more efficient base engines get more emphasis than the big 5.7L V8. Instead of all of these formerly hot selling and high-profit vehicles, even more small cars like the new 5-door Yaris and the new 2010 Prius, will become the focus of Toyota's attention and production capacity.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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