2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataEnlarge Photo
Toyota has made little secret of the fact that its GT 86, a Scion FR-S for readers in the U.S., hasn’t been selling well, with the poor sales performance even leading management to rule out additional variants of the car such as a high-performance version or convertible (just a thousand FR-S coupes were sold in the U.S. last month, down 29 percent on levels a year ago). Considering the GT 86 was a pet project of Toyota president Akio Toyoda, the car won’t be dropped from the automaker’s lineup anytime soon. In fact, we hear that a successor is planned.
Toyota previously worked with Subaru to develop the GT 86, with Subaru developing its own version, the BRZ. For the successor model, we could see Toyota turn to Mazda. But rather than starting from scratch to develop a completely new car, we could see Toyota simply borrow the platform of the new MX-5 Miata, something Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:F] is already doing for a new Fiat model reviving the 124 badge.
Furthermore, it appears Toyota is quite open to borrowing platforms. The Japanese auto giant borrowed the platform of the latest Mazda 2 for a new Scion iA subcompact sedan, and it will use the same platform once again for a next-generation Yaris subcompact. In return, Mazda is believed to be gaining access to Toyota’s hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell technology. The two have already inked a deal to share some tech, similar to the technology and platform sharing deal between BMW and Toyota.
But getting back to the GT 86 successor, Australia’s Motoring, citing sources at Toyota, says Toyota engineers have been testing the MX-5 platform. A major problem, however, is that Toyota is in the final stages of developing another sports car platform set to underpin a small, rear-wheel-drive sports car positioned below the GT 86, and this platform was originally intended to spawn a GT 86 successor. And complicating the matter further is Subaru’s desire to also develop a successor for its BRZ.
We’ll bring you more details on the topic as soon as they surface.