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Toyota is studying the possibility of a smaller rear-wheel drive sports car to sit below the Toyota 86 as part of its three sports car family.

Speaking to CarAdvice at the one-year anniversary event of the Toyota 86 in Canberra, Tatsuya Tada, the program’s chief engineer and the man in charge of Toyota’s sports car division, confirmed work on the smaller and larger sports car has already started.

“Akio Toyoda always says to me, Toyota sports car [family] should be three sports car brothers. 86 is in the middle.” Tada said.

According to Tada, Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s CEO and president, is in favour of both models going into production but neither has yet got the official green light. Tada has been put in charge of the Toyota Supra resurrection project while another chief engineer has taken the smaller sports car project.

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Speculating about potential names, such as Toyota MR2 or Celica, Tada said it’s still far too early but was adamant the smaller sports car will still be on an all-new rear-wheel drive platform.

“Yes it is rear-wheel drive and that’s Toyota’s strong position – Toyota sports car must be rear-wheel drive.” Tada said.

Additionally, Tada hinted that the car might be built in collaboration with another car company, in the same way that the Toyota 86 is a joint project between Subaru and Toyota while the Toyota Supra-sized sports car is an ongoing partnership between BMW and Toyota.

Questioned over the financial viability of a rear-wheel drive platform just for a smaller sports car, Tada said that Toyota has the expertise and efficiency know-hows to make the project work.

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“[The rear wheel drive smaller sports car] sounds like it’s very difficult to do [on a] new platform. However, Toyota has learnt a lot from 86 project and Toyota has much experience in terms of technology and development in the way we develop vehicles efficiently and cost effectively. We have all these experiences and skills”.

Tada admitted that it’s a big challenge and one that other manufacturers can’t do due to the high expense, but was confident in Toyota’s ability to produce a smaller rear-wheel drive sports car.

Given the positioning of the smaller sport car below the 86 and if it was to go into production in the next few years, it would likely be the most affordable rear-wheel drive sports car in the world.

Additionally, given its rear-wheel drive and all-new platform nature, it’s unlikely to share much with any existing Toyota.

What should Toyota call their smaller sports car?