What happens when the unstoppable juggernaut meets the immovable object? In the case of the global economic crisis versus Toyota and Subaru?s joint rear-wheel-drive sports car, there?s hope that new Toyota president Akio Toyoda has found a solution to that age-old riddle.
In an interview with the press at the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, speed-loving Toyota president Akio Toyoda ? the man responsible for the Lexus LF-A and IS F monsters ? assured journalists that the ?Toyobaru? compact sports car is still on the company?s priority list.
The car has been codenamed internally as 086A, perhaps as an homage to fans of the legendary AE86 Corolla. It?s also been rumoured that the 86 designation will stay with the car as its official model code.
The president said that despite the rumours of the project having been cancelled, the car is a vital part of Toyota?s rebirth in a segment it was once so admired for. With Nissan?s Silvia project cancelled, it?s of even greater importance that Toyota take ownership of the small RWD entry-level sports car segment.
As evidence that the 086A project is alive and well, Akio Toyoda told reporters that the body and chassis is complete.
It wasn?t all good news, though, as the president went on to explain that the main delay has been in applying Toyota?s D-4S Direct Injection to Subaru?s flat-4 boxer engine. As a result, production is not scheduled to begin until March 2012.
On the bright side, that?s plenty of time for young enthusiasts to save their pocket money. Akio Toyoda confirmed that Toyota is still shooting for a price point of ?2,000,000 (AUD$33,365), which should give those young fans something to smile about.