Toyota president Akio Toyoda plans to fast track the project
6 August 2009

Toyota has confirmed its plans to build a “fun-to-drive” rear-wheel-drive sports car in a joint venture with Subaru.

New Toyota president Akio Toyoda said the car, dubbed the ‘Toyobaru’, would be launched within the next few years and it would be “an exciting and fun driving experience”, as well as being affordable.

See the Autocar-exclusive rendering and spy shot picture galleryUncovered: the rear-drive ImprezaUpdate: Toyota/Subaru sportscar’Toyobaru’ project postponed

Speaking at a conference in the US, Toyoda said, “My hope is that I can transfer some enthusiasm from the race track to our road vehicles. I want to see Toyota build cars that are fun and exciting to drive.

“I am very excited about it, and I plan to fast track it.”

Toyota owns a stake in Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. The model had previously been put on hold last September due to the slump in new car sales.

Toyota US executive Jim Lentz confirmed the new sports car would be a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru and he had driven it.

“It's going to be great for sales and great for Toyota's image,” he said. “It is important for us to attract that new generation of buyers.”

Toyoda also confirmed that Toyota planned to start mass production of a hydrogen fuel cell car by 2015. He said the car industry was at a once-in-a-century crossroads and fuel-efficient vehicles were vital to the future of motoring.

“Our primary aim is to find better ways to use oil and develop vehicles that are less dependent on it,” he said.

“I have started the ball rolling at Toyota by asking our associates around the world to develop answers for the next 100 years.”

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