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2015 Toyota S-FR to remain a concept

Toyota wouldn't be able to make the model profitably.

The well-received S-FR concept Toyota presented during the 2015 Tokyo auto show looked ready for production. Rumors even claimed it would offer a turbocharged, 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine. We haven't seen the final model yet, and we never will, according to Toyota, because it would be too expensive to build.

"I believe most people are looking forward to the smallest of the 'three brothers.' And when people say the smallest, they expect it would be the most affordable. But, in reality, coming up with a compact small sports car is quite difficult," explained Tetsuya Tada, the head of Toyota Gazoo Racing, during a recent interview with British magazine Evo.

He explained developing a coupe positioned below the 86, making it compliant with safety and emissions regulations all around the world, and selling it profitably would be an incredibly difficult task. It sounds like even designing the S-FR (pictured) with the technical and financial help of a partner -- which Toyota has done to bring the 86 and the Supra to the market -- wouldn't allow the company to make a profit on it.

Even if it could be made profitably, the model would need to clear another hurdle. Tada pointed out it would compete directly against the growing number of used 86s showing up on dealer lots, and in the classifieds.

"In the actual market there are now plenty of second-hand GT86s that are fairly compact, so in order to compete with these second-hand cars it's difficult to come up with a smaller version," he told Evo.

Tada and other executives have often told the media they envision a three-strong line-up of Toyota sports cars; the trio is usually referred to as the three brothers. While nothing is official, Evo speculates the long-rumored, born-again MR2 will slot between the 86 and the Supra rather than below both coupes as an entry-level sports car. The fourth-generation MR2 -- a car that has always been mid-engined -- hasn't been approved for production yet, however.

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