According to Road and Track’s Bob Sorokanich, Supra assistant chief engineer Masayuki Kai made the revelation last week during his test of the highly anticipated sports car. During a discussion, Kai said “We want to have [the] Celica back, we want to have the MR2 back.”
Kai went on to say the company decided to bring the Supra back first because it had the “biggest demand from the market.” Now that the model is almost here, it’s possible that a new Celica or MR2 could be launched.
Kai suggested nothing is set in stone, but hinted a modern-day Celica could be an all-wheel drive performance coupe. The MR2, on the other hand, could keep its mid-engine layout. However, the company still has to figure out if a business case can be made for the models.
Sports cars sell in relatively small numbers and Kai noted they use a lot of components which can’t be shared with more mainstream models. One solution would be to team up with another automaker like they did with BMW for the Supra and Subaru for the 86.
It’s unclear if another company would be willing to work with Toyota on a new sports car, but Kai praised Mazda and said he believes there are a “lot of things we need to learn” from the company. Kai also suggested that without the BMW and Toyota partnership, there probably wouldn’t be a new Z4 or Supra.
While it would be interesting to see a new Celica or MR2, both models went out of production in the mid-2000’s. The MR2 wasn’t a huge hit in the United States as Carsalesbase data shows sales peaked at 32,309 units in 1985 and dropped to a few thousand units towards the end of its production run. The Celica did significantly better as Toyota was selling more than 50,000 units as recently as 2000. However, sales quickly dropped off from there.