Why the new Toyota Supra fails in the transition from Concept to Production

James Evans
Jan 15, 2019 · 3 min read

When the Toyota FT-1 concept was first shown at the North American International Auto Show in 2014 it set high expectations for the forth coming fifth generation Supra.

The TF-1 concept was low, wide, mean and aggressively styled, everything a high performance sports car should be, especially one that was destined to carry the legendary Supra name.

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Source: Toyota
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Source: Toyota

So how did the transition from concept to production go so badly wrong when the fifth generation Supra was revealed in January 2019. The production car retains many of the styling details from the TF-1 concept but the proportions have been squashed and distorted.

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Source: NetCarShow

It as though Toyota took the original design and resized it to fit an existing chassis that they (or in this case BMW) had in the factory, then applied a PhotoShop filter to soften all of the styling to make it more bland.

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Source: NetCarShow

Another example of why this approach of scaling a concept car to fit an existing chassis is the Alfa Brera. The concept car was an elegant couple, the production car was a poorly proportioned hatchback. A great analysis of the concept and production cars can be found on the Car Body Design website.

If Toyota want to see how well a concept car and transition to production they only need to look to there sister company Lexus and the LC 500. When the original Lexus LF-LC concept was show at Detroit Motor Show in 2012, it impressed with elegant proportions and beautiful detailing, building on the styling of the Lexus LF-A supercar.

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Source: NetCarShow

Later when the Lexus LC 500 production car was revealed at the Detroit Motor Show in 2016 it had remained remarkably close to the concept car both in proportion and styling.

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Source: NetCarShow

There is a detailed styling faceoff of the LF-LC and LC 500 on the Car Advice website that highlight just how close the production car is to the concept.

In summary, this is a missed opportunity for Toyota. Had they delivered on the original TF-1 concept they could have created a halo car that is a true successor to the fourth generation Supra that is revered by car fans around the world. Instead we have an over priced, under-powered re-bodied BMW with badly proportioned styling that is not worthy of the Supra name.

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