Toyota Únveils Camry Solara Convertible and MR-Spyder Sports Car Concept
CHICAGO, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), Ú.S.A., Inc., today unveiled the Camry Solara convertible and MR-Spyder sports car concept vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show. Toyota announced that it plans to sell approximately 6,000 Solara convertibles annually, and that they are scheduled to arrive at dealerships in the spring of 2000. The MR-Spyder is a concept vehicle designed to offer a strong hint to Toyota's future direction in the high performance sports car segment
Toyota Camry Solara Convertible
The all-new Camry Solara convertible will be a joint venture between Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Canada (TMMC) and ASC, which is opening a production facility near the Toyota plant in Cambridge, Ontario.
``The Camry Solara was styled at our CALTY Design Center in Newport Beach, California, and from the moment pen met paper, stylists had a convertible on their minds,'' said Don Esmond, Toyota Division vice president and general manager. ``That original concept -- the Solara Speedster -- debuted here in Chicago two years ago. In about a year, that concept will become a reality.''
The Solara convertible was developed to further broaden Toyota's appeal among buyers who are nostalgic for the sports cars of the past, but need more room and comfort than a sports car can provide.
The Solara convertible will be offered in both SE and SLE trim levels, powered by the standard 2.2-liter 133-hp four-cylinder or optional 3.0-liter 200-hp V6 engine matched to a standard four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
The power-folding soft-top convertible roof will feature a full headliner, automatic-down power rear-quarter windows and a large glass rear window. The optional premium JBL sound system will feature a variable-control function that adjusts bass response and volume, depending on vehicle speed and roof position.
The soft-top and the interior trim will be available in two colors in both fabric and leather-trimmed upholstery. A rear deck spoiler will be standard on all models.
The Toyota Technical Center (TTC), based in Ann Arbor, Mich., was assigned to lead the convertible development program. Its responsibilities included vehicle design, parts and materials evaluation, as well as dynamic vehicle evaluation at its Toyota Arizona Proving Ground, near Phoenix. TTC engineers have worked closely with ASC during the development phase and will work on-site at the new ASC facility during the initial production start-up period.
Toyota and ASC have enjoyed a long and successful working relationship for more than 15 years. Their joint efforts have included the development and manufacturing of the Paseo convertible, which was launched in 1997, as well as a series of Celica convertibles, dating back to 1983.
The Solara convertible will be built in a dual-stage process. A coupe body shell will be built at TMMC, then trucked to the nearby ASC facility. ASC will remove the top and perform convertible-specific structural reinforcement. The body then will be trucked back to TMMC where it goes through the entire paint process and is fitted with running gear and interior. The car returns to ASC for final detail work including interior trim, quarter windows and convertible top installation.
``Working with ASC at the manufacturing stage will give us the best possible quality,'' said Don McFalls, TMMC vice president of quality. ``Our customers can expect excellent fit and finish and exceptional corrosion resistance.''
TMMC is the exclusive production site for the Camry Solara. The facility employs 2,700 people and is a three-time recipient of the J.D. Power Gold Plant Award for Initial Quality. The 2.8 million square-foot facility, which also produces the Corolla, has a combined capacity of 200,000 units per year.
The Solara was developed to target buyers looking for expressive styling that is a cut above the competition. Relying on refinement rather than exaggeration, Solara's target image was mature, dignified and controlled, a vehicle aimed at broad appeal within a segment driven by image and style.
Although based on the Camry sedan platform, the Solara is slightly more powerful than the sedan, its suspension a bit firmer, its steering a bit more precise and responsive, and its interior accommodations a bit more upscale and refined.
Since it went on sale last fall, Solara has made a significant contribution toward maintaining Camry's position as the number-one-selling car in the country. In calendar-year 1999, Toyota will sell approximately 50,000 Solara coupes. When joint-effort production is fully operational, Toyota will sell approximately 6,000 Solara convertibles per year.
Toyota MR-Spyder Concept
The Toyota MR-Spyder concept vehicle is an all-new mid-engine rear-drive sports car.
``The world fell in love with the sports cars of the 50s, because they were light in weight, light on the road and light on the wallet,'' said Esmond. ``The MR-Spyder is true to these essential elements. A two-seat, soft-top roadster distilled to its most basic nature, it is simple, functional and an absolute kick to drive.''
Weighing in at only 2,200 pounds, the MR-Spyder rides on a wide, low-slung platform, supported by MacPherson struts at all four corners. It has a wheelbase of 96.5 inches and an overall length of 153 inches.
An all-new 1.8-liter twin cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine powers the Spyder. The engine features VVT-i cylinder head technology, a variable-valve timing system similar to the design currently used in Lexus engines. The engine is rated at 140-hp and 127 lb-ft of torque.
Power is applied to the rear wheels through an all-new sequential five- speed manual sport-shift transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
The transmission features a gear-shift lever on the center console, a push-button/steering wheel-mounted shift mechanism and no clutch pedal.
The Spyder's steering system is a newly developed electric hydraulic power unit designed to save weight, while providing exceptional responsiveness and road feedback.
The Spyder's coachwork features steel panels that are bolted onto a high- rigidity unit-body, allowing for future modification or customization, while making repairs easier and less expensive. There are storage compartments under the front hood and behind the seatbacks. The center cluster console is designed to accommodate audio equipment, or can be removed completely, for additional weight savings. The manually operated convertible soft-top folds completely out of sight, hidden neatly under a hard tonneau cover.
``The Toyota MR-Spyder and the recently unveiled Toyota XYR are vehicles designed to immediately impact how consumers think about Toyota products,'' said Esmond. ``They are vehicles that speak the truth to sports car enthusiasts seeking exhilarating performance and bold styling at an affordable price.''Source - Toyota Media