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Auto blogTue, 28 Jan 2014
The Toyota Prius is undeniably the king of the hybrid market in the United States, with a 39.4 percent market share in 2013. With the next-generation Prius likely to go on sale in 2015, Toyota is trying to build an even more efficient hybrid to keep its control of the market.
Keeping cost down will be one of the major concerns of the new Prius. The next generation will ride on the new, modular Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The lighter underpinnings will improve efficiency and will reduce production costs by allowing for more shared components among vehicles. Toyota will not reveal how many vehicles will use the new platform. But even with the cheaper platform, price will remain a concern. Toyota is still deciding whether all versions of the next Prius will use lithium-ion batteries or whether some models will stick with the heavier nickel-metal hydride batteries to keep cost down.
Of course, the reason most people buy the Prius is because of its great fuel efficiency. Toyota will aim for at least an 8 percent improvement in fuel economy in the next Prius, which would increase it to 58 miles per gallon city and 52 mpg highway.
Toyota as we know it could become a thing of the past. According to Australian site Car Advice, the Japanese brand known for bland cruisers like the Camry and Corolla is preparing to bring two new rear-drive cars to market that would slot above and below the Scion-badged FR-S. This is very, very good news.
Car Advice spoke to the GT86/FR-S' chief engineer, Tatsuya Tada, who claimed, "Akio Toyoda always says to me, Toyota sports car [family] should be three sports car brothers. 86 is in the middle." The oldest "brother" would be the spiritual successor to the Supra, even if it doesn't wear that name. Tada is in charge of that project, while a sub-GT86 project is being headed-up elsewhere.
Tada refused to comment on names (CA specifically mentions MR2 and Celica) for the new small car, but did say that, "Yes it is rear-wheel drive and that's Toyota's strong position - Toyota sports car must be rear-wheel drive." Perhaps the juiciest bit of information obtained from Tada's interview with Car Advice was his hinting that both new sports cars would be joint ventures, like the GT86/FR-S/Subaru BRZ triplets. Tada wouldn't say who Toyota was in bed with on the smaller model, but did mention that the Supra would be a product of the world's largest automaker's partnership with BMW.
Bad news, sportscar fans. According to a new report from What Car?, Toyota has cancelled plans to produce a GT86 convertible, a model based on the FT-86 Open Concept that debuted at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. In truth, Toyota never actually confirmed it would produce the budget-friendly droptop in the first place, but rumors have been flying since last year and Toyota reportedly showed its embattled Scion dealers a FR-S version of the convertible in August. Presumably, this means that a lidless variant of the Subaru BRZ is not in the cards, either.
The reason for the move is unknown, though What Car? reports "one possible cause is weight; Toyota did say that further work would be required on rigidity before the convertible could be launched, and that could have added extra bulk that conflict with the regular GT86's ethos of light weight and agile handling." It doesn't look like that work will happen anytime soon, as "sources now say that the car has now been delayed indefinitely, with no place in Toyota's product plan in either 2014 or 2015." Still holding out hope? What Car? says the project could be "fast-tracked" if management decides it wants to reboot the program down the road.
one possible cause is weight; Toyota did say that further work would be required on rigidity before the convertible could be launched, and that could have added extra bulk that conflict with the regular GT86's ethos of light weight and agile handling. - See more at: http://www.whatcar.com/car-news/toyota-gt86-cabriolet-cancelled/1214782#sthash.iStIkWnz.dpuf