Toyota is arguably the largest and most lucrative automaker on the planet. Yet, for more than four years the company has been teasing fans with a slow drip of information about a new Supra sports coupe. What was originally called the FT-1 has now been renamed the Supra Racing Concept. Toyota’s most recent press release says its showing this concept is its way of, “…demonstrating Toyota’s commitment to bringing the Supra back to the market.” Why demonstrate? Why not simply return the car to market?
The reason is simple. Toyota already has sports coupes for every price point on the market. The entry-level 86 (formerly FR-S) looks a lot like the Supra Racing Concept and is priced as low as any reasonable sports car can be. Toyota’s Lexus division takes it from there with the RC sports coupe line. The RC begins at the low end of the premium market with power just above the 86, has two steps in its trims and culminates with a mighty V8. For those that want more, Lexus offers the LC500 with even more power.
The reason Toyota is waiting so long to reveal the sports car is that a concept serves many of the same purposes as an actual car does. Toyota wants fans to be excited. A concept creates that excitement. Toyota wants fans to think Toyota cares about motorsports and driving excitement, a concept achieves that.
The rumor mill has Toyota collaborating with BMW on this car. That may be true, but why Toyota needs BMW to create a low-volume sports coupe is a real head-scratcher. Why BMW would need Toyota is even more of a mystery. Perhaps the reason is simply to share components, costs, and manufacturing space like Toyota does now with Subaru whose BRZ is the same vehicle as the Toyota FR-S other than minor details?