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Toyota: New, smaller sports cars on the way

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Itsuo Inouye/AP/File

(Read caption) A visitor looks at a Lexus IS300h displayed at Toyota Motor Corp.'s showroom Toyota Mega Web in Tokyo, Japan on Aug. 2, 2013. Toyota may be working on a rear-wheel-drive sports car as part of its effort to roll out fun, affordable sports cars.

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Prior to the last decade, Toyota sold a trio of sports cars that catered to a relatively wide spectrum of the new car market. Even now the names of those sports cars, Supra, MR2 and Celica, hold a certain cachet with performance buyers, despite Toyota losing its way and dropping all three model lines years ago.

In the next several years, Toyota will once again have a trio of sports cars in its lineup, and while they may feature new names the spirit of those old nameplates will at least be able to live on in the new cars. Already we have the GT 86, which is sold here as the Scion FR-S, but soon there will be a mid-size sports car that some are already calling a Supra and beyond that there are plans to launch a third sports car that is described as being smaller than the FR-S.

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The information was revealed by the FR-S’ chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada.

"We have started on the car below the 86," Tada, told Drive. "It is not yet decided if it will be two-seat or two-plus-two; we are developing the concept now."

Tada went on to reveal that the new sports car will be lightweight, feature rear-wheel drive and be priced below $20k. He also said that all three Toyota sports cars will have rear-wheel drive.

We should have more details soon, as Toyota plans to unveil a new performance concept at next month’s 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show that’s said to leverage technology used in the automaker’s TS030 Hybrid Le Mans prototype.

Note, Toyota is not alone in its desire to launch more fun and affordable sports cars. Chevrolet is toying with the idea of launching a new, rear-wheel-drive sports car positioned below the Camaro and Nissan plans to introduce a sports model below its 370Z, though this is expected to be a front-wheel-drive hatch of some sort.

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