Make / Model Search

Future models - Toyota - 86

AIMS: Celica out, 86 in at Toyota

Boxer sports coupe likely to wear Toyota 86 tag instead of Celica in Australia

27 Jun 2011

TOYOTA’S first rear-drive sports coupe since the MR2 will most likely be called the Toyota 86 – not Celica – when it arrives in Australian showrooms about July 2012.

Official Australian government records seen by GoAuto reveal that Toyota Motor Corporation lodged an application with IP Australia to register the 86 name in Australia a year ago, with the title being entered on the register of Australian trademarks on March 17 this year.

Known in concept form as the FT-86, the production version of the 2+2 coupe seems set to be shortened to simply 86 in honour of the last rear-drive Corolla, the AE86, that has cult status as a drift car in Japan.

Developed in conjunction with Subaru, which will launch its own version of the boxer-engined coupe next year, the FT-86’s final name has been the subject of considerable speculation since Toyota showed the first concept at the 2009 Tokyo motor show.

A second-generation concept – FT-86 II – was revealed at the Geneva motor show in March this year and will be the star of the Toyota stand at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne starting Friday.

Although motor companies often apply to register a number of names for motor vehicles, if only to throw nosy rivals and journalists off the scent, the 86 name fits with overseas reports that quote Toyota insiders as saying ‘86’ will be retained in at least part of the name of the final production car that will be launched around the world from early 2012.

8 center imageUnveiling: The Toyota FT-86 II concept car is revealed to the press in Melbourne. The name most speculated for the much-anticipated coupe has been Celica, although Toyota has never encouraged that. Now, a Toyota Australia insider has confirmed to GoAuto that the Celica tag will not be used on the car in Australia.

The soft image of the Celica in its final days before the front-drive, two-door liftback was discontinued in 2006 is not in keeping with the harder-edged rear-drive FT-86, which is aimed at purists on a budget.

However, GoAuto has also learned that different names will be used globally, according to market taste and need.

This fits with a report in Britain’s Autocar suggesting the FT-86 will surface under the Scion sub-brand in the United States, where it will be aimed at younger drivers.

A Scion version of the concept (dubbed FR-S for Front-engine, Rear-drive, Sport) was revealed in April at the New York motor show.

Toyota’s final production version is likely to debut at one of the big international motor shows in the second half of this year, probably Frankfurt as Tokyo does not take place until December this year.

Powered by a Subaru 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine with Toyota direct injection, the shared model will be available only in rear-wheel drive, not Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive.

Although the engine will be normally aspirated at launch, Toyota has not ruled out a turbo version at some point.

As well, it is likely to be available in more than one specification in Australia, with a sub-$40,000 price leader and a more aspirational model with extra bells and whistles for those with the necessary wherewithal.

Toyota Australia public relations manager Mike Breen told GoAuto at the Geneva motor in March that the company was aiming for a low-$30,000s price for the sports coupe.

Today at a media preview of the five cars set to make their public debut at the Melbourne show this week, Mr Breen said “something with a three in front of it” was still the target sticker price.

The FT-86 II concept is said to be close to the final production design, with the external skin and interior fittings penned by Toyota designers exclusively for the Toyota model that will be built in Japan for world markets.

While it is about the same size as the Celica, it is sharper in both looks and – potentially – performance.

It will be offered with a choice of six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, with the latter boasting steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Cloaked in gloss black, the FT-86 II concept is said to be representative of Toyota’s reborn passion for sports cars and a pet project of Toyota president Akio Toyoda – a member of the founding Toyota family and keen sports car driver who has also raced a Lexus in the Nurburgring 24 Hour in Germany.

It was feared that the Japanese earthquake disaster might force Toyota to delay the car’s introduction, perhaps until 2013, but Toyota Australia today confirmed it was on target for local launch “early in the second half of 2012”.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Toyota models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here