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Toyota redefines market with affordable sports car

Toyota New Zealand plans to turn the sports car market on its head with the introduction of the Toyota 86 into the New Zealand market from late August.

Drawing on Toyota's rich sports car heritage, the 86 links the marque back to past greats, including the namesake AE86 Corolla Levin, the legendary twin turbo Supra, MR2, the Celica GT-Four and the original Toyota 2000GT.

Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales, Steve Prangnell says: "The Toyota 86 also looks to present day technology by taking design cues first seen on the Lexus LFA super car to create a strong emotional connection between driver and car."

"Toyota's intention with the 86 is to once again give the world a fun sports car, to deliver true sports car performance at an affordable price. This is a real driver's car. It is light-weight, with a front engine, rear wheel drive layout for near-perfect weight distribution and agility. Right from the initial design vision, the Chief Engineer planned to make the 86 as affordable as possible."

The 86 will be offered in New Zealand in two factory specifications (86 and GT86), with a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) package available for a limited number of early buyers.

"We're hitting the market with a really exciting car, and at a price that's going to impress sports car enthusiasts," says Steve Prangnell.

The 86 enters the market at $41,986 for the six speed manual transmission, and $42,986 for the automatic version. The manual GT86 has a Recommended Retail Price of $46,986, with the automatic at $47,986. A sports aero kit is available for GT86, priced at just $1,600.

Planning for the Special Edition TRD86 is underway, with the recommended price announced at $63,486 for the manual version and $64,486 for the automatic.

Steve Prangnell says: "We want as many people as possible to get behind the wheel and experience how much fun the new 86 is to drive. We're getting ready with good stock levels for launch."

In August, Toyota New Zealand will have more than 100 cars landed to meet what is expected to be strong demand over the remainder of 2012, with more cars coming on stream in the New Year.

"The 86 is the result of a joint development project between Toyota and Subaru and we've been able to secure a good share of the production for Toyota."

"Our sales volumes will be strong for the balance of this year and we plan to increase them next year, with the further release of a radical initiative due to be announced later."

Toyota is undergoing something of a product renaissance in 2012, with most of the model line-up renewed or, as is the case with the Toyota 86, expanded. This resurgence of new product bodes well for Toyota New Zealand to achieve its target of 25 years of market leadership this year.

"A quarter century of market leadership in New Zealand will be an unprecedented achievement, and one that's unlikely to be repeated by any other car marque in this country. It's a fitting way to celebrate the release of this exciting new sports car," says Steve Prangnell.