Go back to December 2015 – just before the Ford Mustang launched in Australia – and the top-selling sports car in the segment was the Toyota 86. These days, sales of the rear-drive two-door are down almost 22 per cent on 2016, and down more than 41 per cent on 2015. Despite this, Toyota Australia says it's still as keen as ever to have the model in the local line-up.
Keeping tight-lipped about any plans for a second-generation 86, Toyota Australia's product public relations manager, Stephen Coughlan, told CarAdvice the model remains one the local division hopes will continue on well into the future.
Speaking at the 2017 Rally South Australia, Coughlan said, “[The Toyota 86] has been an incredible shifting point for the brand.”
“I think what Tada-san has done with the 86, and what we’ve achieved enamouring a whole younger group of buyers and people to the brand, has been incredible, and we’d love to continue that for as long as possible.
“Look, we’d love to continue the model for as long as we can – indefinitely if that was a possibility. In terms of the longer product plans, I can’t give any insights into that, it’s not something we divulge. But what I can tell you, is that we are committed to delivering that sort of product – and products that engage and perhaps enamour a younger audience to our brand – indefinitely.”
Scoring a recent facelift and having its range newly topped by the hard-to-miss Toyota 86 limited edition (pictured below), Coughlan is only too aware of the difficulties associated with keeping the buying public interested in a somewhat niche model, beyond the initial new-car buzz.
“With sports cars it’s always a challenge because you have incredible demand at launch and for the first couple of years, and it’s hard to sustain that.
“Obviously, with Toyota being one of the biggest manufacturers and retailers of cars in the world, you’d think that finances were unlimited, but it isn’t the case. And with any business you have to maintain a certain level of volume.
“The future and what it holds, time will tell. But we’re very happy with where the 86 is, and we may, before year-end if not quarter one next year, have additional product information for the range as well.”
First launched in June 2012 priced from $29,990, the freshly updated 2017 Toyota 86 now kicks off at $30,790 before on-road costs.
Still powered by the same naturally-aspirated FA20 2.0-litre ‘boxer’ four-cylinder engine, the MY17 86 is gifted 152kW of power and 212Nm of torque – up from the previous car’s 147kW and 205Nm – and benefits from a final-drive gear ratio tweak from 4.1:1 to 4.3:1.
Previously, Toyota 86 global chief engineer Tetsuya Tada told CarAdvice that he and his team have “plenty of ideas” when it comes to the 86, however, turbocharging the model remained unlikely, and a convertible version seemed limited to his own personal dreams.