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VFACTS: Toyota’s 86 hits top gear

Good sport: Toyota added the sportscar sales crown to its list of nine category sales victories in 2013, thanks to the fast-selling 86 coupe.

Toyota 86 and its Subaru BRZ twin rewrite the sportscar sales record books

7 Jan 2014

TOYOTA’S hot-selling 86 coupe has reinstated the Japanese car company at the top of Australia’s sportscar market, 13 years after the now defunct Celica was top of the pops.

Car buyers snapped up 6706 of the rear-drive cult coupes last year, along with a further near-identical 1411 Subaru BRZs, making the shared vehicle one of the best-selling sports machines in Australian history with combined sales of 8177 vehicles in the calendar year.

The Japanese-built 86 accounted for a quarter of all sportscars sold in Australia in 2013, and almost single-handedly lifted sales in the category by 23 per cent.

The previous year’s winner, the Hyundai Veloster, came second with 3928 sales, down 4.4 per cent.

Launched in Australia in 2012, the 86 managed a creditable 2047 sales in its first half-year on the market, despite stock restrictions due to global demand.

But as production freed up this year, Toyota was able to make hay while the sun shone, almost tripling its previous year’s sales.

As Toyota puts it, if the 86 was a car brand, it would have been ranked ahead of Volvo and Peugeot in Australian sales last year.

The performance made Australia the third biggest market for the car behind Japan and the United States.

The last time Toyota sold more than 6000 sports car in a year was in 1981 when the front-drive Celica was at the top of its popularity.

The new 86 has much greater street cred with enthusiasts than the Corona-based Celica, gaining a low-slung boxer engine from Subaru, rear-drive traction and sharp handling.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the fun-to-drive dynamics of the 86 had resonated with buyers.

“Its sales have been nothing short of remarkable, and it has brought a substantial number of customers to the brand for the first time,” he said.

“Significantly, Toyota’s renewed focus on driver enjoyment is filtering through to the entire Toyota range, and its influence can be seen in the latest Corlla hatch and RAV4 SUV.” Since the Celica died in 2006, Toyota has largely been absent in the sports arena.

The Subaru BRZ helped Subaru Australia eclipse 2012’s company sales record by a handful of units.

With 1411 BRZs sold online, Subaru notched up 40,200 vehicle sales in 2013, 11 more than the previous year.

Among other strong performers in the 2013 sports car market were Mercedes-Benz’ s C-Class Coupe, which achieved 2043 sales for the year, and BMW’s 1 Series Coupe and Convertible range (1070 units).

In the luxury sportscar market above $80,000, the dominant force was Mercedes’ E-Class Coupe and Convertible, which was the only car in the class to achieve more than 1000 sales (1114 units).

However, BMW was in the middle of a model swap from 3 Series Coupe/Convertible to new 4 Series Coupe/Convertible, which – when added together – amounts to 1079 units.

In the rarified sports market above $200,000, Porsche’s latest 911 was victor, with 276 sales, ahead of BMW’s 6 Series (240 units).

The 911 performance helped drive Porsche to a new annual company sales record of 1905 vehicles, eclipsing the previous best of 1380 in 2007.

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