Toyota' S All-New Mid-Engine/Rear-Drive MR2 Spyder Is Set To Launch In Spring 2000

For Immediate Release
TMS--113--99

(Jan. 7, 2000)

The arrival of the all-new Toyota MR2 Spyder two-seat roadster will join ECHO compact sedan and seventh-generation Celica to complete a trifecta of all-new models Toyota is roll-out during model-year 2000. These three vehicles were developed specifically to appeal to younger new-car buyers on a budget.

"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 Don Esmond, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. "The MR2 Spyder is true to these essential elements. A two-seat, mid-engine, soft-top roadster distilled to its most basic nature, it is simple and functional and a blast to drive. Most important, it will be surprisingly affordable."

The MR2 Spyder will arrive at dealerships in April, with an annual sales target of approximately 5,000 units. The Celica sport coupe and ECHO compact sedan have been on sale since October.

All three new vehicles are marketed as a youth-oriented sub-brand within the Toyota Division. A separate marketing group, genesis, is responsible for the development for the sub-brand's marketing strategy.

Weighing in at approximately 2,200 pounds, the MR2 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. Rated at 138-hp at 6,400 rpm and 125 lb-ft of torque at 4,400, the Spyder's favorable power-to-weight ratio will help provide plenty of pop off the starting line. The engine also powers the all-new Celica GT.

Power is applied to the rear wheels of the MR2 Spyder through a five-speed manual transmission. 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, 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.

The MR2 Spyder will be offered in one grade level and will be very well equipped. Standard features will include:

a four-wheel disc.. anti-lock brake system
air conditioning
three-in-one AM-FM/cassette/CD sound system
power windows and door locks
15-inch alloy wheels
retractable wind deflector
and glass rear window with defroster.
"The Toyota MR2 Spyder and all-new ECHO and Celica 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."