With the Toyota FT86 Open Concept unveiled last week, Scion FR-S chief engineer Tetsuya Tada explained that the cabrio was inevitable. However, in a new post by Toyota on a corporate blog, Tada isn’t quite done with his vehicle yet, and is looking forward to more FR-S based machines.
First Tada explains that the cabrio mindset was instilled with the design team earlier on.
“We knew all the hard points that would be involved when it became an open top and bore those in mind,” says Tada. “So the indexed windows are one highlight, also the way we laid out the rear suspension to allow for the folding roof.”
However, Tada explains that other possibilities were explored when it came to the body style of the vehicle, including a sedan and shooting brake model.
“Mass producing a sports car for a company like Toyota carries a big business risk and we’ve tried to mitigate that risk with our collaboration with Subaru,” starts Tada. “We say, ‘mitigate’ in one [easy] word, but we had to make some really tough decisions for us to realise this. Also, along the way, we investigated the possibility of a sedan [saloon] and a shooting brake.”
Tada however can’t hide the personal reasons for wanting a more practical sportscar.
“I also have five dogs myself and I would like to have them in the car, so a sports shooting break would be just right,” Tada says.
Either way, Tada is intent on not just one or two more FR-S models, but a whole lineup of machines.
“It’s just my personal dream that the GT86 could become a family like what BMW has done with the MINI family,” says Tada.
Currently Toyota and BMW are investigating the feasibility of collaborating on a new sports car.
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The international success that Toyota and Subaru had with the Toyota GT86, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ triplets also proved to be quite the learning experience for Toyota and Tada.
“Something like the GT86 sports car was particularly difficult in terms of collaboration, but what we can take from it is the experience of figuring out how we can get the obstacles to us working together for us,” explains the chief engineer. “I am hoping that we can leverage this experience when we work with BMW.”
Tada even goes on to make some bold promises on what that car could be.
“I am hoping for a synergy effect with BMW that will result in a product that none of us could have imagined; something more than anyone expects,” he states. “I would like that to be something like a sports car… I would even go so far as to say that for the collaboration to work we have to bring a product which exceeds all these expectations.”
However, Tada reveals that things haven’t been too productive. There are a few obstacles that are making the collaboration seem frosty.
“At the moment we are struggling, because we are having this really business-like dealing with BMW and we haven’t really been able to get through that barrier so far,” explains Tada, but the engineer remains creative in his ploy to engage the German automaker.
“Perhaps I need to meet them socially and drink beer and eat sausage together,” he suggests. “In fact the one time I felt we went beyond the business-like barrier was when we all went to Oktoberfest and drank beer. That was the one time, when we were drinking together that I thought, these are unexpectedly good people…”
The overall collaboration might be a bit harder than what Japanese automaker is expecting though, since the last collaboration with Subaru worked thanks to Toyota having stake in the smaller company.
“I assume that it will be much tougher than what we’ve had with the Subaru deal,” states Tada. “One thing that makes it difficult is that we don’t have a cross shareholding relationship.”
GALLERY: Toyota FT86 Open Concept
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