You can now rent the sports car money can't buy. Despite there being up to a six-month wait for the Toyota 86 coupe, the budget-priced two-door has begun appearing in limited numbers on the rental fleets of Hertz and Avis.
The Toyota 86 is still in strong demand almost two years after it stunned the industry with a $29,990 starting price, about $15,000 less than the previous generation Toyota Celica 10 years ago.
Supply is still tight (deliveries are down 22 per cent so far this year) but Toyota has let a handful of 86s on to the rental fleets so potential buyers can have an extended test drive.
"Because the Toyota 86 is in strong demand there are not a lot of dealer demonstrators available for people to take on an extended test drive," says Toyota Australia spokesman Stephen Coughlan. "This is a different way for customers to experience the car."
Toyota says it has no way of knowing how many customers bought a Toyota 86 after a rental car test drive but says it will continue to support the program. "By all accounts the cars have been well received and given potential buyers the chance to sample and evaluate the car prior to purchase," Coughlan says.
Hertz and Avis took delivery of 30 Toyota 86s last year, for rental from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne airport bases. Both companies are renting out the more expensive and most popular version of the 86, which typically costs nearly $40,000 on the road.
They are understood to be replacing their vehicles with another batch of 30 due on their fleets midyear. A quick check of their websites this week found that the Toyota 86 can be rented from about $130 a day, about $20 less than a BMW 3 Series and more than twice the cost of the cheapest cars available. Hertz and Avis say the 86 can be reserved, so intending drivers won't lose a booking and suddenly end up in a Nissan Micra.
The Toyota 86 has been the top-selling sports car in Australia since it went on sale in June 2012, with more than 9600 sold so far. At the current rate of sales, the 10,000th Toyota 86 probably will be delivered this month.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling