Tetsuya Tada is the man behind the new Toyota GT 86 – the company's sensational new rear-wheel drive sports car, which goes on sale in June, priced from £24,995. Auto Express caught up with him at the Geneva Motor Show to talk future plans, and how Toyota is getting exciting again.
What were your goals with the GT 86?
There are many sports cars on the market but many are very expensive. We didn't want that. We also wanted the driver to be the star of the show, so we made the driving experience as pure as possible. That meant we decided from the beginning that we would not use four-wheel drive, or turbocharging or high-grip tyres.
How does the GT 86 differ compared with the Subaru BRZ?
The final suspension settings are slightly different on the GT 86 compared to the BRZ. Subaru owners are more used to four-wheel drive cars with a more stable feeling, so the Subaru has a more stable set-up.
Subaru is offering a stripped-out version for the tuning market in the UK. Will you do the same?
Yes, we will certainly offer this in Europe.
What about future variants - is there scope to do a more powerful version?
We have already studied this area. I don't think we would want to offer much more power, but we have already looked at tuning the suspension settings and offering a more dramatic bodykit.
What about a convertible version?
Well, I cannot say much [laughs] but technically speaking it is possible to do a convertible. That is all I will say though.
I notice you are wearing a badge that says 'Toyota - Fun to drive, again.' Is this very much a new philosophy?
In the past we have received complaints that our cars are not much fun to drive. Akio Toyoda [Toyota boss] told us that he wants that to change, so this approach has definitely come from the top. We want to make our cars fun to drive again – and we have had so many positive comments from journalists about the GT 86 that it is clearly working.
So, we can expect more cars like the GT 86? Will we see an MR2 and a Supra replacement?
We would like there to be three Toyota sports cars again. We would like to make an entry-level sports car [like the MR2] and a replacement for the Supra. But there are no concrete plans. However, I really like the new Honda NSX concept. If we were to do a Supra successor it would have to be environmentally friendly – it would have to be hybrid.