FOLLOWING REPORTS that Toyota's upcoming FT-86 entry-level sports car will wear a price tag much higher than its initial US$20,000 target, new reports this week out of Japan suggest that production has been delayed until 2013.
According to Japan's Best Car magazine, changes to the planned styling and powertrain arrangement, along with a slow economy, has moved Toyota to postpone the market introduction of the FT-86. It was originally expected to go to market late next year.
Earlier reports by Britain's Autocar magazine indicate that the increased cost is reportedly due to a push for a cleaner and more fuel-efficient engine, with Toyota's engineers undecided on whether Subaru's boxer engine is the right block for the job.
Although Toyota boss Akio Toyoda has in the past credited the approval of the FT-86 to the enthusiast-driven revival of the old AE86 Corolla as a popular and affordable 'sports car', the FT-86 is now expected to be marketed more towards older buyers.
Tetsuya Tada, the head of Toyota's new Sports Vehicle Department, reportedly told Autocar that market research had shown that fewer younger drivers would buy the FT-86, causing the carmaker to shift its targeted demographic from 30-year-olds to 40-year-olds.