Toyota, Daihatsu, and Suzuki to build 1.0-liter sports car?

Toyota, Daihatsu, and Suzuki are reportedly teaming up to build a 1.0-liter sports car.  There hasn’t been a real compact sports car from Japan since the Honda S660, and that was discontinued last year. A one-liter car would exceed kei car specs, but there is still room in the market for a niche performance car. The segment once teemed with offerings like the Honda Beat, Mazda AZ-1, and Suzuki Cappuccino, not to mention hot hatch kei cars like the Suzuki Alto Works.

According to Forbes, Toyota would donate the platform while Suzuki would contribute a turbo 1.0-liter engine. The car would be built on Toyota’s GA-B platform that underpins the GR Yaris, while the engine would be the one powering the Suzuki Swift. When combined, the article says, they would form  a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout. Horsepower is expected to sit at around 150, passed through a Suzuki 6-speed auto. No mention of a manual transmission has been made.

Toyota owns Daihatsu outright, and owns about 5 percent of Suzuki. The effort would  help strengthen the tie-ups as when Toyota and Subaru jointly created the 86/BRZ. For years, Suzuki has supplied Nissan the kei cars (and getting rebadged larger vehicles from Nissan in return) but since Nissan took over Mitsubishi, those two have been growing closer. It was announced today that Suzuki would no longer be getting a rebadged version of the Nissan Serena; future vans would be badge-engineered versions of the Toyota Noah.

The Forbes story says that the sports car will go on sale in 2025 in Japan, with a price of about $20,000.

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10 Responses to Toyota, Daihatsu, and Suzuki to build 1.0-liter sports car?

  1. BlitzPig says:

    How about someone in japan throwing North America a bone and giving us an entry level sports car to rival, or beat, the now ever more expensive MX-5?

    • Lupus says:

      Honda S1000, or even Honda S1600… ??

      • Taylor C. says:

        It would be such a niche market, unfortunately. At my local Trader Joe’s parking lot, it’s all SUVs and trucks. Most of the time the automakers don’t make that much money on the sports cars, let alone tiny sports cars.

    • Jon says:

      Because the general North American public don’t like awesome cars. Case and point: Mazda’s incredibly low sales. In 2020 they only sold 694 MX-5’s (One of which I am the proud owner), the 2nd to last seller that year.

    • Mark F Newton-John says:

      Not going to happen, since even Toyota nixed bringing the GR Yaris over (too small) but at least Toyota is getting us the GR Corolla.
      As far as small sports cars go, even Fiat killed the 124 Spider, which was a better looking Mazda MX-5, Alfa Romeo did the same with the 4C (although that is a different market altogether)

  2. Fred Langille says:

    Taylor C is soooooo right! Why don’t those guys instead build a niche SUV or truck? Yes, I’m blowing the horn of my S-Cargo but, with all of the attention it DOES get, a kei truck like the Suzuki Carry or, Honda Acty might sell well … understanding, of course, that I THINK there is a higher import fee on trucks. That could be alleviated by shipping them here to be assembled here stateside. Nevertheless … I’d still go for one of those 1 liter cars!

    • James Boice says:

      From an old guy who had a S-800 in Okinawa for a year. I would love to see a remake of a small 1000 cc, lightweight sports car with a 150 HP. It would sell like hotcakes if it would be offered in the $15,000 to $20,000 market. Just a 6spd. manual and heat and minimal A/C. Let the buyer add the sound system of their choice.

  3. Saii says:

    Did you choose not to mention the Daihatsu copen on purpose? Very similar to the S660, and sold until 2019. If they make anything it will likely be a 3rd gen copen.

  4. phil says:

    Why don’t they just put the SF-R into production? It was essentially production ready and looked fantastic.

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