Tada: How Toyota and Subaru created the GT86
February 11th, 2013 admin
Since its launch last summer, the Toyota GT86 has received multiple awards for its no-nonsense, fun-to-drive philosophy.
But without unprecedented collaboration between two Japanese carmakers and major backing from on high within Toyota, it might never have happened.
Andrew English recently spoke with GT86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, who explained the complicated behind-the-scenes story that led to the most acclaimed sports car of the past decade.
In the end, this is a story of how the development of this remarkable car overcame obstacles and forged a grudging and mutual respect between two teams of engineers, both of whom were working for very different companies.
Here’s Tada-san’s story, in his own words.
“You need to remember that this car was the result of an executive board meeting at Toyota in 2007 with the sole agenda that people around the world are losing interest in cars and what Toyota was going to do about it. One suggestion on how to address this was to go back to basics with a sports car that would rekindle interest. In the past, sports cars had been repeatedly rejected as having a poor return on investment, but at this meeting it was decided that if the technology division could make something that could restart interest, then the marketing division would support it.
“I had been working in the minivan department engineering new product, but a month after the meeting I was summoned. ‘Forget about minivans,’ they said, ‘you are now working on the sports-car project.’
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