It seems that Toyota has been hitting all the right notes when it comes to their approach to win back the hearts and minds of enthusiasts around the world. They brought back the Toyota Supra earlier this year, and showed the world that they meant business when they had the Supra rip up Goodwood. Production is right around the corner, and it’s on to the next big project for the Japanese manufacturer.
According to Road & Track, one of their editors got a chance to ask Masayuki Kai, Assistant Chief Engineer on the Supra project, about the next big thing for Toyota, and he confidently said that they wanted to have the Celica and MR2 back in modern form.
The biggest was Supra. Supra was number one, the biggest demand from the market. Now that we've brought Supra back, what will come next depends on the market needs.
There was also the issue that the market leaned towards more conventional vehicles. Sports cars have always been a niche segment, being expensive to develop and design. Parts are rarely shared across other models, and specific components make each vehicle a logistical and production challenge. He cited that the suspension parts used in a Supra will not work with any other Toyota, so you’re stocking up for one specific model.
Kai also hinted that either an all-wheel drive compact performance coupe or a mid-engine MR2 can definitely make a comeback, as they would complement the rear-wheel drive Toyota 86 and Supra. The cooperation between BMW and Toyota to roll out a platform for the Supra and the Z4 was an essential move, as shared resources and development costs helped make the Supra a reality for Toyota.
He also said that Mazda, with its MX-5, has always been in development for 30 years. Mazda has always been improving and learning from that product, never starting from a completely clean slate, and banking on the experience on sports car production for many decades. For Toyota, it was 16 years since the last Supra, and that’s quite a long time, as engineers change priorities and designs need to be created from scratch.
I believe there are a lot of things we need to learn from Mazda. They never stopped developing the MX-5. They continuously developed that car. If you don't do this—like Toyota, stopping the Supra for 16 years—it's extremely difficult to bring it back.