The Toyota Supra is making a comeback.
Toyota fan blog SupraMKV.com discovered Toyota's June 3 application to trademark the "Supra" name in Europe. This follows the company's 2014 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office application for the name, and suggests that the beloved sports car's return to showrooms is near.
Even huge car manufacturers like Toyota have a hard time justifying the expense of developing a dedicated chassis for a two-seat sports car, which is why, for example, Fiat partnered with Mazda so the new Fiat Spider sports car can share the MX-5 Miata's underpinnings for a cost-effective solution.
In Toyota's case, the company has inked a chassis-sharing deal with BMW, with BMW expected to build the Z4's replacement, while Toyota appears to be on course to use that hardware to build a new Supra.
Toyota has been teasing fans with the FT-1 concept car, which first appeared at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new Lexus LC500 coupe, which debuted this year's Detroit show, could contribute some of its hardware to the Supra.
One of the Supra's defining characteristics is its use of a straight-six engine. Toyota doesn't currently have such an engine in its inventory, but its partner BMW does, which makes its appearance in a new Supra seem likely. Toyota already uses a Subaru-sourced engine in the Toyota FT-86, which has been sold as the Scion FR-S in the U.S.
The iffy financial case for sports cars usually means that they appear only when there is support from senior management. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is a driving enthusiast and sports car racer himself, so we can be confident that with his backing, Toyota will return to the sports car market soon.
The company has not said that the FT-1 previews a possible production Supra's styling, but it is the latest word on Toyota's design's thinking about two-seat sports cars.
Guess we'll just have to wait and see.