Nobody expects a Toyota dealership to raise their pulse like a Ferrari or McLaren lot, but the company’s sports car lull of the late 2000s is one the brand doesn’t want to revisit ever again.
2006 marked the untimely death of the Toyota Celica, which was preceded by the demise of the MR-2 and the famed Supra. After that, the sportiest thing you could find in a Toyota showroom was probably a V6 Camry. Not exactly a game changer.
Then, in 2012, the GT86 came to the rescue. Although slightly underpowered, the automotive community rallied around the tail-happy compact, noting its stiff suspension and back-to-basics attitude as welcome additions to Toyota’s humdrum lineup.
Even though it hasn’t been selling as well as Toyota hoped, the Japanese automaker is committed to keeping exciting cars in the model range for the sake of versatility and brand image.
“We are pretty serious about keeping the GT86 pure, and keeping a car like that in our lineup,” Toyota Europe’s Executive Vice President Karl Schlicht told Motoring. “Because in the past, we dropped cars like the Celicas and fun cars, and we don’t want to lose that again.”
“It hurts the image over time,” he reiterated.
Schlicht’s “pure” statement may be concerning to those who are pining for a boosted GT86 in the future, but the Toyota executive effectively confirmed that the sports car would stick around for a second generation.
“It’s down the road,” he said, adding, “The GT86 has to go through [a] normal lifecycle.”
That means we’ll probably have to wait at least a couple of years for a redesigned GT86, but hopefully the rumors of hybrid, turbocharged, and all-wheel drive versions of the featherweight sports car will have a little more weight behind them by then.
Figuratively speaking, of course.