By on March 22, 2019

As the future of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ began looking rather bleak in the West, we spent the the better part of this year trying to figure out the automakers’ next move. While both automakers were rumored to have something in development, subsequent reports looked less promising. Much talk surrounded what Subaru might do if Toyota pulled out of their next cooperative endeavor.

Maybe we were all just worked up over the sudden surge of special-edition models heralding the final stage in the vehicle’s lifespan. Still, with only minor reassurances coming from either manufacturer, concerns mounted. Some even floated the idea that Japan’s base-level Supra could eventually replace the 86 globally. However, it seems these fears were overblown. Toyota has confirmed that a new 86 is in development in conjunction with Subaru. 

Image: Subaru

The news comes via Toyota Motor Europe’s executive vice president, Matt Harrison. On Friday, Autocar quoted him as saying the nimble little coupe’s position as a “halo product” served it well enough not to be ousted by the company’s more-famous coupe.

“Supra is not to replace that car,” he explained. “They are for different audiences and are different products. We see a situation where they will sit alongside each other.”

From Autocar:

The original GT86, launched in 2011, was co-developed with Subaru alongside the BRZ. It uses Subaru’s flat-four Boxer engine and transmission, and Harrison said it was “a safe assumption” that the next-generation model would retain those links. Toyota has used partnerships to help offset the high costs of developing relatively low-volume sports car models, with the Supra developed alongside the BMW Z4.

Toyota sees the GT86 and similar sports car models as powerful brand ambassadors, and company boss Akio Toyoda recently expressed a desire to build a full family of performance machines, in particular with its hot GR Sport line.

Image: Subaru

Previous rumors hinted at the next-generation 86/BRZ receiving a 2.4-liter mill (likely Subaru’s FA24) with improved power output, while retaining a similar formula to their predecessor. This hasn’t been confirmed, though Harrison’s words don’t disprove that as a possibility.

Sales of the two models have not been particularly healthy. Toyota’s annual deliveries of the 86 declined in the U.S. every year since 2013. Subaru suffered a similar fate with the BRZ, which yielded even worse sales. Both companies will be lucky to move 4,000 examples in America this year. Even if they don’t, they’ll still manage to outpace European sales by a wide margin.

However, Harrison says the 86 isn’t about numbers. “Its role is not one particularly about volume globally. It’s about adding excitement to the brand and emotional appeal,” he said. “The GT86 has definitely been successful for us in achieving that, particularly in markets like the UK.”

[Images: Toyota; Subaru]

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54 Comments on “Toyota Exec Confirms Development of Next-gen 86/BRZ...”


  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Check out the NYTimes Op-Ed titled “Owning a Car Will Soon Be as Quaint as Owning a Horse.” I bet TTAC B&B would have a ball discussing it here.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I checked it out. It is what I would expect from someone that lives in New York and may in fact work well for them. It is idiotic for those of us that live less densely populated areas.

      Also, with respect to home ownership, how many times will ones rent go up over the next 15 years? My Mortgage actually goes down. After 15, it goes to zero (Taxes and Insurance are tiny in comparison, which renters pay too in the form of a rent check). How Quaint. Have fun with the rent.

      None of this has anything to do with the article however, so getting back to that, I am glad they will continue to make this. I hope they address some of the concerns. So long as it doesn’t put on weight the power level should be good. People will still cry, but Toyota has a Supra and a Lexus they can sell you if that is the case.

      Having said that, the biggest complaint I have heard is that it runs a Subaru Boxer. Hopefully this one will be good enough for people to overlook it. I am going to remain optimistic until I have reason not to on this one.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      It’s got to be a troll.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        It is just a reflection of the quality of thinking that you get from people who’ve been convinced that working 65+ hours a week in order to live like college students makes them successful and rejecting morals makes them good. If this sounds like a troll to you, then you haven’t been paying attention to how separated from reality and lacking in empathy half of the country and most of Europe have become.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “rejecting morals makes them good”

          welp, if the average “Christian” in this country is an example of “moral,” then I’d say it’s right to reject them.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            Someone with your mental guns who plinks at Christians is just too lazy to leave the back porch.

          • 0 avatar
            GM JUNK

            Welp, if the other half are the ones cheering infanticide, I’m happy being a Christian.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Welp, if the other half are the ones cheering infanticide, I’m happy being a Christian.”

            if you’re happy being among those who sat on their hands and said “there’s nothing we can do!” after some guy walked into a school and murdered 20 little kids, then thank you for proving my point.

            you don’t give a rat’s @$$ about “babies.” you just want to control women. if there is a Hell, surely “Christians” like you will find yourselves burning in it.

        • 0 avatar
          vehic1

          ToddAtlasF1: Suffice it to say that what does and does not constitute “morals” differs greatly.
          Religious freedom is a tradition in this country, like it or not.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    This dude’s ears are perked up at this 86 news. It doesn’t even need a turbo, I’ll take a breathed on Camry 4 cyl
    Here in flyover country NYT readers are as quaint as horse owners

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      hey cimarron sorry i know wrong article, i just don’t care about the 86.

      i of course know what a major trigger the NYTimes would be for the commentariat. i guess i don’t really care about that either, when it comes down to it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Its role is not one particularly about volume globally. It’s about adding excitement to the brand and emotional appeal…”

    Hmm; I smell BS.

    Does the Miata achieve this for Mazda? Specifically, does someone buy a CX-9 because the Miata exists, or does someone buy a Camry because the 86 exists?

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I mean, I like that there’s a company that makes something like the Miata. If it came down to a dead heat between a CX9 and, say, a Palisade, or something, that might tip the scales. I like Mazda as a brand a bit more because of what they focus on. It’s not a huge effect, and a lot of people probably aren’t even aware it exists, but it’d be hard to argue that a meme like “Miata Is Always The Answer” doesn’t have *some* impact on Mazda’s brand perception and *some* impact on sales, even if it’s second- or third- order.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        If someone seeks out the CX-9 specifically they are probably a Miata/Mazda fan and aware of things like that even the base CX-9 has 255 width tires on it making those some of the fattest tires fitted to a family 3-row. (Even if they are “eco” tires.)

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          So in other words they are putting on ten inch wide tires that stick like wood. Mazda’s CUV tire size choices cause some of their customers a great deal of grief when they are attempting to travel and they hole a tire that nobody has in stock outside of Indianapolis.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            “ten inch wide tires that stick like wood”

            I, for one, would like to thank you for such bon mots.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Can’t we just blame CAFE for a 3 row AWD turbo CUV having “mileage maker” tires on it?

            Toyota puts “Prius tires” on the 86 for crying out loud.

    • 0 avatar
      Trucky McTruckface

      Yeah, I’d definitely say somebody buys a CX-9 because of the Miata. Because the Miata represents a product ethos that is distilled into the company’s other products. So, beyond the fact that the Miata serves as a halo product to drive showroom traffic, it’s helped the company develop a full line of vehicles – even otherwise soulless crossovers – that have enthusiast appeal.

      I suspect this is the mentality Akio wants to achieve, but it’s not working. Part of the problem is that Toyota farms out the bulk of the development on the cars like the 86 and Supra to other manufacturers. None of the “emotional appeal” of the 86 translates into the Camry or Highlander because it’s not even the same people responsible for developing those cars. Okay, the current Camry LE has shaken off some of the Buick LeSabre-style ride and handling, but it’s still a vehicle with cheap detailing that mistakes obnoxious styling for sportiness.

      Toyota needs to embrace its strengths, which historically have nothing to do with sports cars. The AE-86 Corolla was a footnote in America while the first few generations of Supra were glorified Japanese Cutlass Supremes. Stop pretending otherwise. I’m tired of mainstream Toyotas that seem to take their inspiration less from the groundbreaking ’92 Camry and more from the outdated, milquetoast ’79 Corona. The 86’s development money would be better spent on, I dunno, a Tacoma and 4Runner that aren’t 15+ years old.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Perhaps a kid feels better being dropped off at school in a Toyota, if another Toyota is what he drives in his favorite videogame…

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    SCE That’s a good point. I’d have to say the current Camry is more dynamic than the last ,so there’s some filtering. I’ve not driven the CX9 but apparently it is more zoom zoom , than say an Ascent.
    Ego -Fragile dad bod guy’s like myself apparently need to have the brand image of having some decent sport cars in the same showroom that we buy our minivans from.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I’m sure the CVT will be really sporty.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “Both companies will be lucky to move 4,000 examples in America this year. Even if they don’t, they’ll still manage to outpace European sales by a wide margin.”

    that’s Japanese business culture for you. “It worked 20 years ago. If it’s not working now, keep doing what’s not working. Eventually it should work.”

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      And folks on here castigate domestic car companies for every little thing. But this, is a good idea? Gah.

    • 0 avatar

      It is better than the GM method of just quitting. There is a reason Toyota is the world best selling car maker, and GM has dropped to fourth behind Nissan.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        @Akear. Toyota’s way is to endlessly design and engineer their sports cars for far longer than necessary, and come up with some kind of moral victory that misses the mark. GM’s way is to short cut the engineering and get the unfinished car into production, get shocked by negative reviews and recalls, then grind away at fixing the issues before deciding to cancel the car and move on to the next botch job.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Wow, JimZ is throwing shade on *everybody* today. Quick, someone call Toyota and tell them their business culture stinks.

      Also, I think dwford pretty much nailed the two development processes. LOL

  • avatar
    geozinger

    LOLz. Toyobaru are doubling down on a car they can’t sell… Hailed as the second coming, it prematurely ejaculated.

    Again, buy a bunch of LS or LT motors from GM and give the people something good.

  • avatar
    GM JUNK

    Buncha grumpy clique in here tonight. People should be praising this, not poo-pooing it. Yeesh.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Why? It was DOA. Only the fact that Toyota can afford to keep this turd floating is the only reason why it’s still around. Any other company would have flushed this thing long ago and not ponied up for a second gen.

      They should stick to Camrys, Corollas and Tacomas. Like Trucky McTruckface said above, they’d be better off spending money on the Tacoma and other vehicles.

      Yeesh.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “People should be praising this, not poo-pooing it.”

      Botticelli Blue and Nearly Racing Green?

      Hell, yeah, I’ll praise that! Even on little twerp carts.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Tempting. I think I’d enjoy a little ‘toy’ car that offers fun without being a “supercar”.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Base, stick shift, Mustang with the Performance Package will dance around this thing and cost less.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Would it “feel” the same though? I like the Mustang, and I’d 100% buy one over these, but I wouldn’t consider any version of the Ford to be a “flickable” car. The extra length, width, and pounds are going to change the driving experience.

        I think the biggest trouble for the 86/BRZ is that (1) the market for this kind of thing is very small and (2) the Miata is generally considered better.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        This car is almost $3,500 cheaper, but it also handles better. It won’t eat 255/40R 19 tires at track days either. If only it had a Toyota engine, I’d buy one.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          Hmm. The prices have shifted since I last looked a few years ago. Once you add the performance pack, the Stang is definitely more expensive (and a much better track car). I take back the “cost less” part.

          Each have their merits. I’d be all over the BRZ if it had just a little more grunt and better stopping power.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            The Mustang might be a better track car if you do all your track days at Road America. Most of the track days are done at facilities that are much twistier than than and a car like the 86 or MX-5 is a better choice.

            I’ve driven both the 4 cylinder Mustang and the 6 cylinder Camaro at Atlanta Mostorsports Park, and would much rather have a BRZ for that use.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “Base, stick shift, Mustang with the Performance Package will dance around this thing and cost less.”

        The Mustang will be faster but will feel like a boat in comparison. If one wants a sports car feel, Mustang is not the answer.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Anybody who recalls the release of the original BRZ/GT86 will realize this thing was never intended to compete with cars like the Mustang; it’s intended to be sporty and fun, giving a sense of excitement without trying to be the fastest and quickest car around. It’s competing against cars like the Miata/Fiat 124 instead.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @brn: The Mustang is not a “toy” car. Oh, it did spend a few years in that grouping but almost from the beginning it was more a muscle car than a toy, despite its original marketing as a “woman’s sports car.”

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          It competes with the Mustang by default, same as anything in the “sporty” category, same price range, like Wranglers. For those where nothing else will do, they’re headed for the track, modifications, etc, they’re looking for a used one usually.

          But geeze the Mustang is huge. I saw a FOX Mustang, probably an ’89, side by side in a driveway with a newer one, and the difference was jaw dropping.

          It’s time for a new “Mustang II” the size of the 86, maybe a 2-seater, and yeah it would have to be FWD based, maybe AWD, but possibly mid-engine, not unlike the Citation platform Fiero or Corolla based MR2.

  • avatar
    mmorales

    I just find it sad that none of the Toyota ‘halo’ cars have a Toyota engine.

    Defenders will say things like “oh the BRZ uses Toyota’s port injection system,” or “the Supra has a different ECU tune.” But honestly all of the replacement parts are Subaru/BMW parts, and all the fundamental engine design was done by those companies. (Lexus halo cars get bespoke engines, but not Toyota.)

    I just don’t see doing the exterior styling as equivalent to making a halo car. Can you imaging Honda using someone else’s engine? No. Honda may let others use the type R engine, but building the engine and drivetrain is a crucial part of making a real halo car.

  • avatar

    Sigh, another hit for Toyota, while GM and Ford cut carlines. Is Toyota gonna stay number one for 85 more years like the once mighty GM did?

    The extreme success Toyota is having is kind of boring now. What fun is it when Toyota always wins.

  • avatar
    mikey

    “The extreme success Toyota is having is kind of boring”

    I feel that way when I read the same comment over and over again.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    If they keep the curb weight about the same and put in a ~220HP/190lb-ft FA20 they will make a good car. It could probably use another 100lb of sound deadening

  • avatar
    theBrandler

    “…adding excitement to the brand…” – How about adding excitement to the car? You know, that 3.5L V6 in the camry would do very nicely. Oh you know what else will fit in there? WRX ENGINE!!! -_-

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