Toyota will renew the 86/BRZ, continue partnership with Subaru, exec says
It’s official: Toyota will build a replacement for the wickedly fun, if underpowered, 86 sports car.
Matt Harrison, Toyota’s head of European marketing, confirmed the news in an interview with Autocar. Toyota will once again work with Subaru, which sells essentially the same car under the BRZ name. The partnership means the next-gen car probably will use a boxer engine mounted up front and driving the rear wheels. Here’s hoping it makes more power; the current (manual-equipped) model offers just 205 horses.
The car’s future had been an open question, and doubts intensified following the introduction of the new Supra. Some thought that car, developed with BMW, made the 86 superfluous. Not so, Harrison said; the Supra is not a replacement for the 86. “They are for different audiences and are different products,” said Harrison. “We see a situation where they will sit alongside each other.”
It appears the new 86 will fall under an expanded GR (for Gazoo Racing) sports car sub-brand, with the four-cylinder 86 slotting below the inline-six Supra. Toyota boss Akio Toyoda has shown an interest in GR eventually offering a full lineup of performance cars.
Harrison called the 86 “a successful ‘halo’ product,” though sales have declined significantly since its introduction as the Scion FR-S in 2012. Toyota sold more than 18,000 in the United States in 2013, but moved just 4,133 last year. To be fair, seven years is quite a long time for a model, and lower sales are to be expected so late in a product cycle.
Harrison did not say when we might see the new 86.