New Celica or MR2 is next after Supra, says Toyota

New Celica or MR2 is next after Supra, says Toyota

More sports car news coming from Toyota, which is hosting journalists at its Supra first drive event. It’s inevitable that someone from the media would ask about the “Three Brothers”, and this is what Masayuki Kai, assistant chief engineer of the A90 Supra had to say.

But before that, Three Brothers refers to Toyota’s 90s trio of sports cars – the Supra, Celica and MR2. Yup, there was a time when one could walk into a Toyota showroom to be greeted by the A80 Supra, T180 Celica and SW20 MR2 on the same floor – just imagine that!

Over the past few years, there has been much talk about the revival of the sports car family, and there’s no smoke without fire, especially when the president of the company is a car nut and racing kaki as well. Also, with the resurrection of the Supra, Toyota would already have two out of three in the current range.

The next one to complete the trio could be a new Celica or new MR2, according to Kai san. “We want to have Celica back, we want to have the MR2 back. The biggest was Supra. Supra was number one, the biggest demand from the market. Now that we’ve brought Supra back, what will come next depends on the market needs,” he told Road & Track.

Click to enlarge

According to the US magazine, the engineer hinted that the Celica – a rally hero in its past life – could come back as an AWD compact performance coupe to compliment the rear-wheel-drive Toyota 86 and A90 Supra. The missing piece could also be a Mid-engine, Rear-wheel drive, 2-seater – if a business case can be made. “Or maybe it could be a completely different model. We’ll have to wait and see,” Kai said.

But aren’t sports cars low volume products that aren’t in demand in today’s SUV-driven market? Kai agrees. “Sports car are becoming more and more expensive to develop. So a single company cannot afford to invest in all the tooling for parts and components, because the volume of sports car is quite small.

“A sports car requires a lot of specific components that you cannot share with other cars. The suspension components we’re using on the Supra, you can’t use on a sedan like Camry or Corolla. And as you know, all the homologation issues are also getting more and more complex and difficult,” he told R&T.

The upcoming A90 Supra will be the flagship, the 86 will be the middle child

The new Supra, due to hit showrooms next year, got around that cost/volume hurdle thanks to Toyota partnering with BMW – the A90 and third-generation BMW Z4 that was revealed last month share the same bones.

“I’m quite sure if we did not make this cooperation, they could not have brought the Z4 back on the market alone. And without their cooperation, we would never have been able to bring back the Supra. So it’s clear for us, we needed this partnership,” Kai added.

That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Mazda though, which has continuously given us the MX-5 since the first-generation NA came out in the late 80s. The current fourth-generation ND from Hiroshima is rather brilliant, too. “Maybe if you’re developing sports cars over a very, very long time, like Mazda, you have to know how to make it cheaper. I believe they have a lot of know-how, gathered throughout the development of the MX-5,” Kai conceded.

New Celica or MR2 is next after Supra, says Toyota

In contrast, Toyota had quit sports cars for a long period, only recently returning to the market with the 86. “I believe there are a lot of things we need to learn from Mazda. They never stopped developing the MX-5. They continuously developed that car. If you don’t do this — like Toyota, stopping the Supra for 16 years — it’s extremely difficult to bring it back,” he told the US rag’s Bob Sorokanich. By the way, this is the same engineer who told the press that a manual transmission A90 Supra is ready and awaiting the green light.

But when there’s a will, there’s a way, more so when the will comes from company president Akio Toyoda. “Akio has always said that as a company he would like to have Three Brothers, with the GT86 in the middle and Supra as the big brother,” Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer of the new Supra and 86, said last month.

So, with the Supra and 86 in place, which Toyota sports car do you want as the final brother – FWD/4WD Celica or a compact new MR2 with open-air possibilities? The latter seems like the more difficult project to pull off, but I’ll be rooting for it.

In the meantime, check out Toyota’s tiny S-FR concept from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show below. Would you rather have this instead? Such a tease you are, Toyota.

GALLERY: Toyota S-FR Concept from Tokyo 2015

Looking to sell your car? Sell it with Carro.

Certified Pre-Owned - 1 Year Warranty

10% discount when you renew your car insurance

Compare prices between different insurer providers and use the promo code 'PAULTAN10' when you make your payment to save the most on your car insurance renewal compared to other competing services.

Car Insurance

Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • RuslanB on Sep 21, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Toyota MR2 a sportier MX-5.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
    • Horn Mom on Sep 21, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      GT86: Toyota mother + Subaru father
      Subra: Toyota mother + BMW father
      MR2: Toyota mother + Mazda father?
      Celica: Toyota mother + Yamaha father?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
    • Chavez on Sep 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      Not the same category. MR2/S is midship rear akin to Porsches while MX5 is traditional coupe with a near 50:50 weight distro. MX5 remained as a pure sports car while MRS became hipster car.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
      • rightwinger on Sep 24, 2018 at 11:59 am

        mx5? pure sports car? guess you dont know its reputation as a hairdresser’s cars…

        Porsche is known, primarily, for rear engined cars. not many midship- Boxter, Cayman, GT Carrera,918 Spyder,
        and race cars like- 550 Spyder,718, 904 Carrera GTS, 906, 980, 917, 936, 956/962, 911 GT1, RS Spyder LMP2, 919 Hybrid, imho are not relevant.

        just so you know, the MRS did race in the now defunct, Japan GT300. pretty hardcore for a hipster…

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • heybadigol (Member) on Sep 21, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Wow, someone’s found back their mojo. Good for Toyota. Finally after making loads of money selling appliances pretending to be cars, they want to make serious cars again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
    • Toyota found it easier to tumpang glamour of others by rebadging their cars

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 24
  • kaizen on Sep 21, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Mits Mirage Cyborg nostalgik…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • Meh! So which other automaker’s car that Toyota will rebadge for these?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2
  • Konohamaru on Sep 21, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Toyota saja buat pening semua org…kata susah nak buat…impreza ada kan…buat jadi 2 door jer dah selesau…guna engine boxer…dah settle…apa nak pening nyer..rebadge je impreza tu…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2
  • MR2 plz….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Haidi on Sep 21, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    First of all, the 86 is a Subaru. Then the Supra is a BMW Z4.
    What will a Celica be like? Collaboration with another company like its brothers?
    So much expectation on the Celica though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
  • RicoT on Sep 22, 2018 at 12:26 am

    I guess Celica with 4WD, since they do WRC with it. 86 already there in MR2 place. MR2 is just midship, which Honda NSX is more famous when compared to MR2/MR-S.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Jonn Dol on Sep 22, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Why not both? (Celica & MR2). Given the high development cost, platform sharing could work again this time,with Subaru & Mazda . Take the Impreza’s platform & mechanicals , re-skin it into a sleek 2-door sports coupe, souped up the flat-4 turbo engine a bit – you got a new Celica. Take the MX-5’s platform , re-engineer it into a mid-engined, install a turbo – you got a new MR2.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • 4G63T DSM on Sep 22, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Not sure if I buy all that talk.

    They could have very easily built the Supra on the same platform as the LC500. After all the last Supra was more GT than sports car.

    With the new Supra riding on a smaller platform, do they have room for another small coupe, considering historically both the AE86 and Celica was based on a corolla at some point in its life.

    Toyota is just making excuses. If Honda can make the S660, there is no reason why they can’t make a new MR2

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4
    • stastasta on Sep 24, 2018 at 5:01 pm

      s660 is jdm only . making car for global markets is a different story.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • ahmadjohnson97 on Sep 23, 2018 at 6:29 am

    How about Toyota altezza, that will be nice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
  • Mr Hakim on Sep 24, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Heh bring the Celica first la, FF makes more sales

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

Add a comment