Toyota needs more than sports cars to regain its credibility
Arguably, the Toyota/Subaru sports car was the unmitigated hit of last week’s Tokyo Motor Show. Praise flowed freely from usually grumpy media types (yours truly included), for Toyota’s “back to basics” approach and general all-around courage for putting a car out there that is not primarily about making money. And, already, Toyota is looking at taking the momentum created by its GT 86 2+2 (to be sold in Canada as the Scion FR-S) and expanding its sports car offerings. The GT 86’s head engineer, Tetsuya Tada , told the Sydney Morning Herald there’s a future possibility of two more Toyota sports cars: one bigger than the compact GT 86, and one smaller.
''I would like to have one smaller and one larger. One would probably be a Supra follower. Nothing has been decided yet. It would [be] like a Supra successor.''
That’s cool. I mean, who can argue with more “fun” cars from a brand that’s trying to shake off its image as a maker of appliances with four wheels. But I have a better idea for Toyota. One that would help its struggling Lexus brand. Why not take GT 86’s compact rear-drive platform and make it into the spiritual successor to the 1982 to 1994 BMW E30 3 Series sedan, seen above.
That’s right: A compact, rear-drive sports sedan with the GT 86’s "light is might" design ethos, one that would fit five in pinch. Lexus is (or should be) looking to kill its current compact sedan, the virtually unsellable HS 250h hybrid. So let’s badge this new, rear-drive sedan as a Lexus, then price and size it under the next-gen IS.
Not only would Lexus have a car to compete against the flood of smaller luxury cars on the horizon (Audi A3 sedan, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Infiniti whatever, etc.), but the compact sports sedan would also give Lexus the type of street cred the GT 86 is currently blessing Toyota with influential enthusiasts and us in the motoring press.
And don’t think a type of car like the BMW E30 doesn't still resonate.
Britain’s respected Car magazine just went and and bought one, well, just for fun.
Do you think a Lexus compact rear-drive sports sedan would make you consider the brand over an Audi or BMW?