The idea of a manual Toyota Supra had enthusiasts very, very excited last year. When Masayuki Kai, assistant chief engineer on the project, told journalists a three-pedal variant is in development and could be coming to right-hand drive markets, the CarAdvice comments caught fire.
Turns out, the equation might not be so simple. Speaking with media at the Detroit motor show, Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer, said a stick shift Supra will only be launched if "a persistent, overwhelming demand" is present.
"Obviously, if the mass market demand is there, it would be something that would have to be considered. It depends on the right timing,” he said, in an interview quoted by Auto Guide.
That's a high bar to breach, especially considering Tada-san says he's "very satisfied" with the eight-speed automatic ZF transmission being offered at launch.
Speaking with CarAdvice last year, Masayuki Kai said the manual Supra has been developed already, and the relevant parts are ready for action.
"We have developed it, yes, there is hardware ready. Right-hand drive? Yes, of course. It needs to be sold in Japan, which is a right-hand drive market," he explained.
Although his bar for production seems higher, Tada-san seemed to echo the idea money has been spent developing a manual, describing the project as in "test development phases".
“I’m very aware of the requests and needs for a manual transmission out there, but with the new sports automatic transmission, I am very satisfied with the results of the performance of this transmission system," Tada-san said.
"It is completely different from any other automatic transmission that has been released.”
Would you be keen for a three-pedal Supra?
REVIEW: 2019 TOYOTA SUPRA DRIVEN