Despite reports that development of a hybrid version of the Toyota 86 was quite advanced, it appears as though project has been halted due to a poor business case.
Fabio Capano, director of product communications at Toyota Europe, told Autocar: "We can create a product with this technology, but it needs to make proper business sense. We have to prioritise." He added that a hybrid 86 might not "speak to the majority".
Currently the only engine offered to buyers of the Toyota 86 and its Subaru BRZ sibling is a 147kW/205Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer motor driving the rear wheels. Although a hybrid version of the 86 would be heavier the regular car, it would have more power and torque, as well as, possibly, a manual transmission.
Widely praised by the motoring media, the Toyota 86, which is sold as the Scion FR-S in North America and Toyota GT86 in Europe, has failed to set sales charts alight in most major markets.
Since its launch at the beginning of 2012 just 100,000 Toyota 86s have been sold worldwide. The car is disproportionately popular in Australia, with 10,000 sold since the car became available in June 2012. This means that about 10 per cent of the world's Toyota 86 population lives in Australia.
Gerald Killmann, vice president of European research and development, told AutoExpress earlier this year that "a faster version of [the Toyota 86] would be at the top of most people’s wish lists, but like the cabriolet, it is hard to justify a business case to push either model into production based on the current sales."
Toyota displayed the FT-86 Open concept at the 2013 Geneva motor show. Although the concept car looked practically production ready, it has yet to be confirmed for manufacture. Indeed, not long after its debut, the project was rumoured to have been shut down. This was followed soon after by a denial of that report from the car's chief engineer.