While many car companies focused on horsepower and size during the past decade, Toyota staked its reputation on dependability and eco-friendly hybrids. Toyota�"s leadership is now calling for more excitement (a.k.a. speedy performance) to go with its green image.
Automotive News reported today that Toyota President Akio Toyoda is ordering engineers and designers to spice up the brand's bland image. "I wanted a car that shows what we are aiming for, something affordable, fun to drive and good for the environment," Toyoda said. He points to the MR2 hybrid sports concept as the kind of product he expects from a new focus on fun.
When Toyota unveiled the MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January, observers gave it a zero percent chance of being produced. The 400-horsepower MR2 hybrid is based on the MR2 platform that was nixed from the U.S. market in 2005.
The MR2 Sports Hybrid Concept combines a 3.3-liter V6, used to drive the rear wheels through a continuously variable transmission, and an electric motor for the front wheels. The concept has an estimated zero-to-60 time under 4.5 seconds.
Read More... [Source: HybridCars.com]