On the site today you'll notice a story on the Toyota FT-86 Concept. Since I wrote it various rumours have been doing the rounds on the internet about the validity of the car’s design. According to these rumours “an unofficial source in Japan” has claimed that the final design hasn’t been signed off yet, the insinuation being that the car we photographed bears little true resemblance to the one that will go on sale in 2012.
I was, I admit, a bit shocked by these rumours, having recently spent a day with the car and some of the people responsible for its design. So I started to do some digging, and it now seems that the situation is a wee bit more complicated than it first appeared.
What I can gather, having communicated with numerous official, unofficial sources within and outside Toyota, is this. In 2012 Toyota will definitely launch a rear-wheel-drive coupe that will have an unusually low centre of gravity, and for a target price of less than £20k equivalent to today’s money. But its final production design has indeed not yet been finalised.
However, what I can also tell you is that, unofficially and very much on the QT, Akio Toyoda himself loves the current design just as it is, especially the rear end. He’s also taken particularly keen note of the enthusiastic way in which the FT-86 concept has been received by its critics. And so, basically, it would seem he wants to keep the production car’s design as close as possible to that of the concept, once various aspects have been integrated to make it production friendly; such as pedestrian crash protection etc.