There were some rumblings that the Toyota 86 may not return for a second generation, but a new report revives our hopes. Toyota’s European marketing boss has confirmed that the company will indeed build a new GT86, as it’s known in Europe.
Matt Harrison told Autocar that the GT86 has been a successful halo model for Toyota. He also reiterated that the new Supra was not intended to replace the GT86. “They are for different audiences and are different products,” he said. “We see a situation where they will sit alongside each other.”
Harrison said it was a “safe assumption” that the second-generation GT86 would keep its ties to Subaru. Originally co-developed with the Subaru BRZ, the GT86 features a Subaru-derived 2.0-liter flat-four Boxer engine. Making 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque, a manual-equipped 86 we tested ran from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds.
The 86 is not a big seller here in the U.S. Last year, Toyota sold just 4,146 copies, down 39 percent from the previous year. We don’t know about Toyota’s plans for the 86 here, and a U.S. Toyota spokesman told us the company couldn’t confirm plans to introduce a new version on our shores when asked for comment. But Harrison makes it clear this car isn’t about sales.
“Its role is not one particularly about volume globally. It’s about adding excitement to the brand and emotional appeal,” he said, adding the GT86 has achieved this goal particularly in markets like the U.K.
Earlier this month, we learned that Toyota wants three sports cars in its lineup, but it’s unlikely to make one smaller than the current 86. Toyota Gazoo Racing chief Tetsuya Tada told Evo, “I believe most people are looking forward to the smallest of the ‘three brothers,’ And when people say the smallest, they expect it would be the most affordable. But in reality coming up with a compact small sports car is quite difficult.”