Top 10 Automotive News Stories of 2011

Top 10 Automotive News Stories of 2011

1. Toyota's New Sports Car

2011 has been a big year for the auto industry, and for auto enthusiasts. Along with rebounding sales, we’ve seen the debut of some amazing performance machines, from the newest BMW M5, to a 650-hp Ford Shelby GT500. But no car captured headlines quite like Toyota’s new affordable sports car. First unveiled as a concept two years ago, Toyota shocked the industry with the FT-86, a vehicle completely outside its comfort zone. It was a sports car, a proper rear-wheel drive one, designed for enthusiasts and purists, and it was beautiful. Toyota promised it would be one of the greatest handling cars money can buy, and yet it wouldn’t cost anything like the $375,000 LFA supercar. Rather, it would be affordable. Very affordable. And while we have driven the car, pricing hasn’t yet been released, although it’s expected to come in somewhere around the $25,000 mark.

Much like how General Motors is using the Volt to help rebrand itself, the Toyota 86 or GT 86 (sold in America as the Scion FR-S) is a similar move for Toyota. The Japanese automaker is already known for its green-car leadership, but it’s also known for building the Corolla and numerous similar machines; fantastic as reliable modes of transportation but utterly devoid of a soul.

Hyped for two solid years, with plenty of concepts and leaked information, not to mention early rumors of a twin offering by Subaru (which turned out to be true), the car finally made its big debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. Amazing in concept, doubt continued to hang about the car. Could Toyota really build a car that’s fun to drive?

And so the fate of the FR-S rested solely on the driving experience it would deliver. If a dud, it would prove Toyota was in fact a lost cause for anyone who actually appreciates cars, but if it delivered, the FR-S could usher in a new era for Toyota. AutoGuide was lucky enough to be one of a select few to drive the FR-S just after it’s launch. Toyota’s new sports car vanquished our doubts, as a track test of the machine left us calling it an “icon.” Read the review for yourself here.

  • Chris Van Auken

    First off, if GM (giant mess, God’s mistake, take your pick) is looking at the volt to rescue them, they are in worse trouble than we thought. The sales of the volt are dismal, and is selling them to government agencies mostly. And we know how efficiant governments are. It is not Pinto wrong. It is worse. Pinto’s could leak fuel which was a hazard no doubt. These things catch fire long after an accident. Talk about a time bomb. GM still owes the government most of the money they took. It is still owned by the federal government as far as I am concerned.

  • Steve

    I know why don’t you just slate General Motors. Talk about taking the easy way out.
    GM are a world wide automaker, the Volt needs to be a success. Did you report on why the Volt supposedly catches fire? Did you ask someone at GM for an interview to put the questions to them?
    Why did you not try to put any positive input in your article at all?
    You would need to be a proper journalist to do that I would imagine.
    You owe it to your home auto industry to do your job to your best ability, i would bet it pays your wages. It is easy to take a swipe at GM, no one is going to call round to you home and smack you in the face are they? I would like to!
    why not speak to someone at GM?

  • Jannis

    Get with it. The Volt is only being offered in 7 U.S. cteiis the 1st year. A 50% production increase for 2012 by adding the rest of the nation is not much of an expectation. Nice spin job GM.

  • brimoind

    Typical Jannis, you see a story  and pick out one thing to comment on and that is to show your negativity to General Motoprs nothing else! Great job, keep it up you will all be buying chineese cars soon enough, except that your economy will be in such a mess that most Americans will not be able to afford a car!
    Get with it and support the USA fool.
    By the way i am not American, i do not know anyone personally who is American and i have never been to America. I do know that there are an awful; lot of Americans who seem to support anything other than what they make locally though, a reason?
    It’s still your call, you are the superpower, for the moment anyway!