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NAIAS 2015: Toyota Still Teasing Sports Car Return

Toyota teased its return to the sports car business with the FT-1 concept for the second year in a row at NAIAS 2015.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

Toyota took an unusual step this week at NAIAS 2015 by teasing the same concept car it showed off at last year’s big Detroit Auto Show. 

At the opening press preview day at last year’s North American International Auto Show, Toyota jumped back into the sports car world with its new FT-1 Concept. Toyota was once a popular player in the affordable performance car game — producing the 2000 GT, the Sports 800, the 80-86 Hachiroku, the Supra and the MR2 over the decades. But, in recent years, the Japanese automaker focused on family and utility vehicles — leaving the affordable sports cars to sister Scion and the performance luxury cars to sister Lexus 

If Toyota chooses to go ahead with the FT-1, it would signal Toyota’s return to the sports car business. And, one would think they better make that call soon as teasing the same concept car two years in a row at the same major auto show is pushing a company’s luck in the media good will department. It’s time to build or get off the assembly line.

Related: NAIAS 2015: Alfa Romeo Spins a 4C Spider

The new car’s name stands for Future Toyota and represents a new design philosophy for the company. It’s safe to say recent Toyota’s have been visually “safe,” opting for a pleasant commonality to attract the largest number of potential buyers. And, you can’t blame them since that choice netted Toyota the Camry – the number one selling car in the world. They sold a handful in the time it’s taken you to read this.

One look at the FT-1 sounds a note of optimism that Toyota is getting away from “safe” and looking at their models more aggressively. As it stands now, the FT-1 lines bear a resemblance to the Scion FR-S – while its size and large front end scoops harken to the Lexus LFA. Still, the overall package offers a completely unique aura over any other Toyota built in 20 years.

As of right now, the predominant rumors say the FT-1 will be built, only as the rebirth of the Supra – smaller and not as flashy as the concept version. That could all be nonsense and hype, but the hour is nigh we get word one way or the other.