Sunday 22 August 2010

Toyota planning small RWD coupé

Toyota has started developing a cost-effective, RWD coupé from a hot-hatch concept.

The coupé is being prepared in honour of Toyota’s chief engineer, Hiromu Naruse, who was killed in a road traffic accident, driving Lexus LF-A in Nürburgring, Germany. Naruse had an idea of a rear-wheel-drive, front engined model for youths.

The forthcoming model will underpin the GRMN Hot Hatch Concept which premiered at the Tokyo Auto Salon at the start of this year. The forthcoming model is intended to give affordable performance and appeal than the FT-86.

When Naruse was asked at the Auto Salon what his young engineers wanted to build, he said, “A car that is a blast to drive and rear-wheel drive and that is priced low enough to get younger buyers into it."

The Hot Hatch Concept was produced on existing platforms and engines, thus keeping overall costs down. Underpinning the Aygo platform, it featured a 1.5 litre petrol engine that powers the rear wheels and weighs less than 1,000kg. It features a fairly sophisticated double wishbone rear suspension but is likely to be priced from ¥1.4m (£10,250).

The new coupé will slot below the larger FT-86 in the Toyota line-up. The GRMN team has been given the brief of ‘fun to drive’ and ‘cheap’ for the car, which could be built at the same factory in Osaka that produces the 660cc Daihatsu Copen.

The new model could beat the FT-86 to the market too. Internal sources suggest that it will launch in 2012, priced at least £8,000 less than the FT-86.

Naruse was 67 years old and had been with Toyota since 1963.

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