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Auto blogFri, 21 Feb 2014 14:00:00 EST
Okay, folks - it appears we've got a problem. The Toyota GT86, Europe's counterpart to our own beloved Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S coupes, is apparently not selling too well. This, according to Toyota's European Vice President of Research and Development, Gerald Killman, is what's limiting plans for additional variants of the rear-drive coupe.
"A faster version of that car would be at the top of most people's wish lists, but like the cabriolet, it is hard to justify a business case to push either model into production based on the current sales," Killman told AutoExpress. "Personally, I think that engine could use a little bit more," he added.
More troubling is that slow sales aren't limited to the Euro-spec car, with Killman claiming that the GT86 have been missing sales targets in major markets around the globe. It may not be that the US is one of those major markets, though. Scion's Vice President, Doug Murtha, tells Autoblog that his brand is happy with the sales of its version of the GT86, the FR-S. 18,000 units were sold last year, which Murtha says is "generally in line with original expectations for the car."
Toyota first launched Lexus in the United States back in 1989, but it wasn't until 2005 that it brought the luxury marque home to roost. But don't think that Toyota didn't find a way of selling many of its premium models in the Japanese Domestic Market in the meantime. The Lexus LS was sold as the Toyota Celsion, the ES as the Vista and Camry Prominent, and the SC as the Soarer. (We could go on, but you get the point.)
These days Lexus sells in markets around the world, including Japan, but Toyota still spins off its own versions of Lexus models to sell domestically as well. Like the new Sai, for example. Sharing its platform, hybrid propulsion and much more with the Lexus HS (which you may remember as the world's first dedicated luxury hybrid until it was pulled from the market early last year), the Sai was introduced to Japan at the same time as the HS was rolled out around the world. Now nearly four years on the market, Toyota has given it a bit of a refresh.
Boasting a far more aggressive front end and a restyled rear, the revised Sai features LED headlights, 16-inch alloys and a higher-quality interior in which JDM buyers will find a new center console and trim, along with an optional 10-speaker infotainment system. Toyota also boasts that the new Sai is made of 20-percent Ecological Plastic and recycled resin.
We'd seen leaked images of the the refreshed 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, now Toyota has deemed it officially ready for the European masses it is aimed at. We can only hope the masses are ready for that grille, probably the most intense of the many changes made to the volcano-eating truck. The new face and its "powerfully projecting vertical bars" were designed to "accentuate the new Toyota's rugged appearance," as if the legendarily capable SUV wasn't rugged enough. Other changes include redesigned headlight clusters, stronger character lines along the sides, new taillights and license plate "garnish" in back, and a slew of new wheel choices. Both the three- and five-door are 20 millimeters longer, all of that in the front overhang, but the approach angle apparently hasn't changed.
The new organization of trims runs from Entry to Legend, Prestige and Executive. The interior has been reorganized with better seats in the second and third rows, a new upper center console, a redesigned panel for controlling on- and off-road driving functions, reworked Optitron meters with a 4.2-inch LCD screen, and new switchgear, fabrics and color schemes. Infotainment has been upgraded with Toyota Touch 2 and Toyota Touch 2 with Go. They mirror your smartphone if said phone happens to be either a Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 2.
On-road driving dynamics have been improve with suspension changes, and a Rear Cross Traffic Alert added to the suite of safety features for maneuvering the beast. When it comes to the Land Cruiser's real reason for being, the five Multi-terrain Select choices and five-step Crawl Control are more easily used with a Multi-terrain Monitor reworked for more clarity.