Updated July 25 with comment from Toyota Australia.
Toyota 86 vehicles delivered to Australia from October will feature a tyre repair kit instead of the full-size spare wheel that currently comes standard with the brand-new sports coupe.
An internal vehicle notification bulletin circulated yesterday by Toyota Australia Regional Planning details the specification change, which will also see the 86-branded rubber cargo mat that sits over the spare wheel in the boot removed from those vehicles.
“From September 2012 production the full-size spare wheel will be replaced with a tyre repair kit,” the document explains.
“To coincide with the adoption of the tyre repair kit, the PIO cargo mat will be discontinued from this time.”
A Toyota customer service representative confirmed the switch from the spare wheel to the repair kit, revealing that the cars with the puncture kit would arrive in Australian showrooms from the start of the final quarter of 2012.
The entry-level 86 GT is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels while the high-grade 86 GTS comes with larger 17s. Currently, the GTS gets a full-size alloy wheel, while the GT gets a full-size tyre with a steel wheel.
The customer service representative said there was no mention of any price or other specification adjustments to offset loss of the spare wheel and rubber boot mat, and no word of compensation for customers who have already ordered an 86 expecting it to come with the spare wheel.
Toyota Australia’s Mike Breen told CarAdvice the decision to swap the full-size spare for a tyre repair kit was motivated by improving practicality for owners and not about cost cutting.
“It was all about the usability of the boot space,” Breen said. “When we saw the intrusion into the boot space caused by the full-size spare wheel we decided that from a customer point of view it was not ideal.”
Breen confirmed Toyota 86 models delivered without the full-size spare would gain an extra six litres of boot space thanks to the introduction of a flat boot floor cover, which he said would make it easier to load in bulky items like luggage and golf bags.
While admitting it was unfortunate that many customers found out about the specification change online before dealers could inform them personally, Breen said Toyota had no plans to offer compensation for customers who had already ordered a car.
“That’s a matter for discussion between the customer and the dealer.”
Breen said Toyota Australia will not offer an option to add in the full-size spare wheel.
Subaru Australia’s David Rowley confirmed there were no plans to delete the standard full-size spare wheel from the 86’s sister car, the BRZ. It isn’t currently offered with the boot liner.
“Our car has a full-size spare and that will continue to be the case,” Rowley said.
The Toyota 86 launched in Australia at the beginning of June, with the entry-level GT manual variant starting from the unexpectedly low price of $29,990 before on-road costs.
In the face of rumours that prices would increase shortly after its launch, Toyota Australia last month confirmed there were no price changes planned for the 86 in the foreseeable future.
Breen said as of today (July 25) there is a two to three month waiting list for the 86 GT and a 12 month wait for the GTS.