Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s incoming chairman said he wants the sports car the company is developing with Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) to be a midsize vehicle comparable to the discontinued Supra.
Takeshi Uchiyamada has been telling people that Toyota’s next sports car should be like the Supra so that it doesn’t overlap with the 86 coupe, he said in an interview yesterday in Osaka at a gathering of members of the Keidanren, Japan’s biggest business lobbying group. Still, such decisions are up to engineers, Uchiyamada said.
“That’s what I want but it’s not me who makes the decision,” said Uchiyamada, who’s known within Toyota as the “father of the Prius” for his work developing the world’s best-selling gasoline-electric car. “It’s futile if we make something similar” to the 86, he said.
Toyota and BMW announced this year they will jointly produce a midsize sports car as part of a broader collaboration between the two. Should Uchiyamada, who’s leading the negotiations with BMW, get his wish, Toyota would be reviving a model that was last produced in 1999 after a 20-year run.
Toyota spokesman Naoto Fuse declined to comment beyond saying nothing has been decided.
Uchiyamada, 66, is scheduled to become Toyota’s next chairman at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting this week, replacing Fujio Cho, who will become honorary chairman. President Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder, runs day-to-day operations at the world’s biggest carmaker.
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