Toyota has reportedly moved to quash speculation that the launch of its hotly-anticipated entry-level 'FR-S' sportscar has been postponed until 2013.
According to a report at enthusiast website 7Tune this week, Toyota invited local press to its Japanese headquarters to talk about its new "G's" branded styling accessories. Discussion however quickly moved to the rear-wheel-drive FR-S coupe (based on the FT-86 sports car concept) and when it might see light of day.
Speaking with 7Tune, Toyota's Sports Vehicle Management division boss Dr Shigeyuki Hori reportedly confirmed that the coupe is on track for its original 2011 debut. It is expected to be offered in three equipment grades, with the middle grade to be priced at around AU$32,000 in the Japanese market.
The styling of the FT-86/FR-S is also expected to remain largely unchanged from the concept, with Sports Vehicle Group Manager, Kazuo Okino confirming that there would only be basic cosmetic differences to ensure ease of production.
Engine details remain unclear, and the question of whether turbo-charging will be included in the final design is apparently still being determined. A hybrid version has also reportedly been ruled out - a point that is sure to see enthusiasts breathe a sigh of relief.
Although the name of the new model has not been confirmed, news out of the US last month is that Toyota has registered the name FR-S as a trademark. With no other known sports cars on the horizon for the world number one carmaker, the odds are strengthening that this will become the production name.
This latest revelation follows reports in October last year that speculated the new model would wear a Celica badge, a tribute to the rear-wheel-drive origins of the long-gone coupe.
The most recent reports on the FT-86's march to production suggest that a new push for a cleaner and more fuel-efficient engine has Toyota apparently 'binning' plans to use Subaru's boxer engine.
Toyota boss Akio Toyoda has also acknowledged that the car's original target price of around US$20,000 is looking less likely (a comment seemingly confirmed by today's news).
Its market research has shown that the 30-40 year-old demographic is the company's best bet for the new car - meaning a higher level of features, and a higher price tag to go with them.
Toyota FR-S Trademark
- Word Mark FR-S
- Goods and Services IC 012. US 019 021 023 031 035 044. G & S: Automobiles and structural parts thereof
- Standard Characters Claimed
- Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
- Serial Number 85049145
- Filing Date May 27, 2010
- Current Filing Basis 1B
- Original Filing Basis 1B
- Owner (APPLICANT) Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha TA Toyota Motor Corporation CORPORATION JAPAN 1, Toyota-cho Toyota-shi, Aichi-ken JAPAN 471-8571
- Attorney of Record Roberta S. Bren
- Type of Mark TRADEMARK
- Register PRINCIPAL
- Live/Dead Indicator LIVE