RWD Toyobaru on Hold, NSX Dead

Our hopes for a return to RWD Toyotas have been dashed on account of the drastic worldwide economic downturn. The lightweight coupe, widely assumed to be a RWD Corolla successor, has been in the works since August 2007 but according to this article the project has been put on hold until at least 2012. This comes with the news today that Toyota has posted its first operating loss since 1938, its first year in business. But those are just the beginning of woes that are slamming the Japanese auto industry.

Our hopes for a new Honda NSX are dead, and Honda also recently put its Formula 1 team on sale (latest word is that a Mexican billionaire may purchase the team). Subaru also pulled out of WRC. These are tough times ahead indeed.

Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe said today, “The change in the world economy is of a magnitude that comes once every hundred years.” The automaker had just come off eight straight years of record profits, and few thought its fortunes would change so drastically. Analysts are predicting a “realignment” of Japan’s eight automakers. Earlier this year, Ford already sold off most of its share in Mazda.

Meanwhile Detroit’s gloom has spurred a redux of 80s Japan bashing at at least one Chevy dealeship, which sought to crush a “vintage” Honda Accord with a monster truck Suburban. Only, the truck was unable to do so when the attempt resulted in a blown hydraulic hose.

[via Autoblog]

This post is filed under: honda, motorsport, rally, subaru, toyota.

8 Responses to RWD Toyobaru on Hold, NSX Dead

  1. Sr-FairladyZ says:

    No surprise here.

  2. Blownarrow says:

    There just mad hyundai beet thm to it……

  3. Nigel says:

    Same old. Bad news due to the economy also means bad news for us not so wealthy car types. Back to working on my Civic I guess.

  4. Oyaji Gaijin says:

    Sorry, this whole story has grown to sound far too much like a fairy tale. No one seems to notice that not a single source cited is a major media company (network or newspaper), or the vehicle manufacturer themselves. Every single story references another website, which references another website, and so on. This all looks like one big self feeding rumor.

    And this latest chapter in the story lends even less to the credibility. Killing off high dollar super cars with poor fuel economy makes sense. Killing off small, inexpensive, high fuel efficiency vehicles, which have potential to be exciting to drive and therefore sell well… That just doesn’t survive the believability test because that exact recipe is exactly what every auto manufacturer is busting their butts trying to create right now. This sounds more like a convenient way to kill off the rumor before someone gets caught for creating the rumor, when the imaginary car never gets built.

  5. Pickle says:

    That Accord just made my day….

  6. Ben says:

    Oyaji Gaijin – I linked to the article on Bloomberg, a reliable business news source that quotes Hideaki Homma, a Toyota spokesperson.

    Toyota (and everyone in the auto industry) has to undergo some major restructuring because no one has any idea what 2009 will bring. When you go from $28 billion in 2007 to -$1.7 billion, it’s understandable why they would put some stuff on hold.

    I’m bummed that the car will be delayed, and though that sounds suspiciously like a euphemism for dead, we can always hope.

  7. Oyaji Gaijin says:

    Ben, the Bloomberg quote indicates “sportscar”. It does not reference AE86, rear wheel drive, or the other details of the rumor mill story. It is unlikely that this is a different car from the single grain of fact in the rumor story, but it is hardly absolute. The original AE86 could not be described as a sports car. It was a specialty car, hot hatch, or at best a performance oriented economy car. The rumor illustration looks like a next generation FWD Celica, with no visible stylistic reference to a AE86. The exterior dimensions are closer to the Celica than the AE86. And in an economy favoring small economy cars, the chopping block list for Toyota would logically start out with the Tundra, Tacoma, Land Criuser, 4 Runner, FJ Cruiser, Camary Solara, and this would still leave a dozen good candidates to axe before killing off what the rumor story describes as a performance oriented economy car. Axing a pure sportscar would make sense, but the rumor car is not described as a pure sportscar. Homma’s comments appear directed at a completely different car, one that actually exists/existed.

  8. F3ARED says:

    Sounds like typical Toyota.

    Operating loss for the year DOES NOT mean they have no funds or are going bankrupt. Back to building boring whitegoods i think.

    Im not even sure if this rumoured car wouldve been any good – think about it, they were planning on using the Subaru boxer engine. Hardly a Toyota is it?

    Someone needs to step back in and build proper cars like the 2TG powered Celicas etc.

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