Fast and furious: Toyota teases Detroit-bound Furia concept

Toyota Furia concept teaser profileToyota has a reputation for building competent but boring cars. Even CEO Akio Toyoda is asking the company to inject more excitement into its lineup. So Toyota is trying to do just that with the Furia, a sedan concept that will be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January. As George Lucas will tell you, it’s all about the special effects.

Judging by the sparks flying in Toyota’s teaser photos and video, it looks like the photo shoot was done in a burning building. Other than that, we see a sedan with a carbon fiber rear spoiler on its trunk and a carbon fiber diffuser with trapezoidal exhaust.

Was this concept co-developed with Pep Boys? Unlike most pure concept cars, the Furia has normal-looking door handles, which means it could be a preview of a production model.

There is no concrete evidence about which model it is, though. In profile view, the Furia looks a bit like a Corolla, a car that’s in need of a redesign. Toyota’s compact was last redesigned in 2008, while its rivals are much fresher.

The Furia’s headlights are pushed out by a wide honeycomb grille, with what appears to be a chrome strip for an eyebrow. This resembles the 2013 Avalon’s front end, and it would make sense for Toyota to build a “family look” around its big sedan.

Toyota Furia concept teaser headlightsWhen the Avalon was unveiled at the New York Auto Show last April, it was meant to represent a sea change in Toyota’s styling. It was the first Toyota-badged model to follow CEO Toyoda’s “more exciting cars” mandate and, opinions aside, the Avalon is what designers thought was exciting. It seems logical that their version of excitement would trickle down to the compact Corolla.

So the Furia could be a future Corolla masquerading as a concept, but Toyota’s lips are, of course sealed. Maybe the company decided to build a rear-wheel drive sports sedan to compete with the 2014 Chevrolet SS. It could happen, right?

Whatever the Furia turns out to be, the world will get its first look at the Detroit Auto Show, which opens January 14, 2013.