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Over the past few months, rumors have circulated that the joint venture between Toyota and Subaru to develop an affordable, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe has been delayed. ToMoCo president, Akio Toyoda, sought to address those concerns at last month's Tokyo Auto Salon, and according to Toyota's new overlord, development is still underway.
Toyoda told the assembled masses that the new FR sports car is an essential part of the automaker's "rejuvenation" efforts to bring younger people into the fold, and a large part of that is price. The coupe is still expected to cost around 2,000,000 yen (a little over $21,000 US) and is set to go on sale in 2012. According to Toyoda, the production postponement has nothing to do with the delay in construction of the Toyota/Subaru factory, where the two-door was due to be built next year. Instead, Toyoda claims that the hold up is due to the adaption of Toyota's new D-4S direct injection system for the flat-four engine. Currently, the FR sports car is codenamed "086A," and for those of you schooled in the world of Hachirokus, that spells good things to come.
Both Toyota and Subaru have officially confirmed that their co-developed sporty compact car project has been put on hold. The two automakers had planned a rear-wheel-drive sporty two-door based on the Subaru Impreza platform that also used Subaru’s boxer engine, but the project has apparently been delayed indefinitely due to the worldwide economic slump.
Toyota gained a small stake in Subaru in 2005 and the joint project had intended to fill gaps in both automakers’ lineups. Toyota has lacked a sporty small car since the demise of the Celica and Subaru has been without a coupe for considerably longer. The small Toyota could have been badged a Scion, too.
Initially, the plan had been for the sporty coupe to be on sale in 2011 or 2012, but it looks like it has been delayed at least a year, if not longer, confirming earlier reports.
The plan for the Subaru to assemble Toyota Camrys in its Lafayette, Indiana, assembly plant remains on schedule, however.
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