Toyota 86 convertible tipped for 2014

31 July 2012
, CarsGuide
Toyota 86 convertible tipped for 2014
The Toyota 86 convertible picutred is the car that has to happen.

No-one at Toyota is denying a droptop extension of the sellout new coupe, which has created waiting lists up to 18 months in Australia since sales began little more than six weeks ago.

Then, again, there is still no official confirmation from Japan. "Please, ask me another question," the head of the 86 program, Tetsuya Tada, laughs when Carsguide quizzes him on a convertible.

Carparazzi has done the job for Tada with its impression of how the red-hot coupe will look without a roof, and the choice of a German number plate is a reflection of the car's success in Europe and Toyota's recent decision to set up an AMG-style hotrod division for Lexus at its one-time Formula One headquarters in Cologne.

The droptop was definitely not part of the original 86 development brief - a joint program between Toyota and Subaru - but it has firmed with incredible early success of the 86. Coupes traditionally hit their sales peak inside the first two years and Toyota knows it needs the convertible to stretch the appeal of the 86 and continue the showroom demand that will keep its factory running at full capacity.

Production was originally pegged at 60,000 cars a year but waiting lists around the world - including Australia - could force Toyota to spend on an upgrade to take the total beyond 75,000 in 2013. Toyota Australia is currently quoting a minimum wait of three months and a worst-case delay closer to 18 month.

"For the GT automatic it is three or four months. For the GTS manual, which is the most popular model, it's out to about 14 months," admits Toyota spokesman, Mike Breen. He says Australia is pushing hard for extra cars but is waiting for news from Japan.

"We're trying to get more production but, because of the global demand, we're still waiting for answers," he says. While the world waits for new on the 86 convertible, its toughest rival - the Mazda MX-5 - is set for renewal sometime in 2014.

Not only that, but an Alfa Romeo version of the all-new MX-5 - the world's favourite droptop - is part of the plan, although the Italian company intends supplying its own engine and bodywork.

"It's great news. It helps us share development costs and increase production," says Doug Dickson, managing director of Mazda Australia. He is not talking about the on-sale date for the new MX-5 but admits it will be very different to the current car, with more punch and refinement.