Toyota 86 convertible

6 February 2013
, CarsGuide
Toyota 86 convertible
Toyota is pushing ahead with a droptop that's likely for production in 2014.

Surprise, surprise, the top is coming off the Toyota 86. Actually, it's no surprise at all, since there has been talk of an 86 roadster since the day Toyota confirmed it was finally getting serious about a 21st century sports car. So the only surprise is that Subaru currently has no plan to do a fresh-air BRZ.

The coupe twins - which scooped last year's Carsguide Car of the Year award - have been a joint venture from the first day of development right through to the Subaru factory that currently pumps out Toyota's new-age hero. 

But now Subaru says the open-air 86 is a Toyota-only project and there is nothing beyond the existing BRZ in its future. "There is no BRZ convertible showing on our product planning portfolio. And that document goes out for several years," the managing director of Subaru Australia, Nick Senior, tells Carsguide.

"That's not to say they are considering it, but we definitely have no knowledge. Obviously we have insight and visibility for several years to help with the planning process, whether it's technical, sales, makreting or logistics." Senior admits that Toyota might be considering a production plan outside the existing assembly arrangements in Japan, perhaps with a third-party droptop specialist, but says the possibility of a BRZ ragtop is tiny.

"It's a very small chance. And it's a chance as small as the volume would be likely to be," he says. Still, Toyota is pushing ahead with a droptop that's likely for production in 2014. The car is being previewed next month at the Geneva Motor Show, where it will be badged as the FT-86 Open Concept.

So, what's it all about? "We cannot discuss future model plans," says Mike Breen of Toyota Australia, confirming the show car is being fast-tracked to the road. But then he backtracks. "It's only a concept at this stage," Breen says, recovering quickly.

Even so, the roadster is an essential part of the 86 plan because all sports cars have a rapid rise to popularity that's followed by an equally-quick fall once something newer and flashier gets to showrooms.