Bucking the industry trend toward small, fuel-efficient vehicles, Japanese automakers are now wooing drivers who cherish horsepower, speed and cornering.
New vehicle sales have dropped 20 percent in the past 10 years, taking a heavy toll on gas-guzzling sports cars, but carmakers are introducing new sports cars with plenty of "go" under the hood.
Toyota Motor Corp. recently unveiled the prototype of its new 86 sports car at the Tokyo Motor Show, which will end Dec. 11 at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward.
Pronounced "Hachiroku," the 86 features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder horizontally opposed engine. The first new Toyota sports car in 13 years is slated to hit showrooms next spring at an estimated price of 2 million yen to 3 million yen ($26,000 to $39,000).
"I love the smell of gasoline and sound of an engine," company president and self-professed "car guy" Akio Toyoda told the crowd as the car developed under his tutelage was introduced.
Nissan Motor Co. also announced at the Tokyo Motor Show that it will release more sports-oriented versions of its existing models using the Nismo brand of its motor sports arm.
"Nissan has accumulated a wealth of experience by developing sports cars such as the Fairlady Z," said Shoichi Miyatani, president of Nissan Motorsports International Co. "We will capitalize on that image to expand sales."
Nissan presented a concept model of the Nismo sporty version of its Juke compact crossover at the Tokyo Motor Show.
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