Why Honda Has No Interest In A Toyota Supra Fighter


At least not for the time being.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest reveals at this year's Detroit Auto Show is the 2020 Toyota Supra. We've been following its development progress for five years and now that it's finally here, questions abound as to whether competing automakers (excluding BMW, of course) will respond. So naturally, this question came up when we sat down to chat with Honda assistant VP of product planning, Jay Joseph, in the Motor City. We just cut straight to the point: is Honda exploring the idea of a Supra fighter? A reborn S2000, perhaps? Turns out we didn't get quite the answer we thought.

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"The vehicle that serves that purpose for us today is the Civic Type R," Joseph said. "We couldn't be happier with its performance. It's got remarkably civilized road manners and I would never hesitate driving it on my daily 37-mile work commute." Joseph is also an S2000 owner so he's fully aware of that roadster's capabilities and loyal fan base, but the Type R is by far the better all-around package that makes it much easier to sell. It's also no performance slouch, having taken the Nurburgring lap record for a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

"The Type R could have a harsher edge, but even with a manual transmission, it's a civilized and great car. But once you get the chance to open it up it rewards you. The harder you push the more it gives you. It's what really serves that halo car role in our company today."

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Joseph further added that Honda is a company of driving enthusiasts, such as himself, meaning it's vital for it to "have something there" for its enthusiast customers. "For now the Civic Type R is the performance model from Honda today. We like having something that suits that role. But the vehicle has to earn it."

Obviously, the Civic Type R hot hatch is not a direct competitor to the two-door GT sports car Supra, but it's still everything an enthusiast car needs to be and more. Hard to argue with that.

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