Toyota GT-86 made its European debut at the Geneva show this month

Toyota GT-86 made its European debut at the Geneva show this month

Toyota will use a new sales method for its first completely new sports car in 13 years.

Called simply the 86 [in homage to the 86 model code Corolla of the 1980s], the compact coupe will go on sale in Japan on 6 April at 283 dealerships nationwide. The outlets, collectively dubbed 'Area 86', will have a sales area dedicated to the car and be staffed by specialists who can answer any questions about optional equipment, modifications or requests for test drives.

To prepare for the start of sales, Toyota has brought together technical staff from affiliated dealerships for study sessions about the car's design and performance.

Most Area 86 outlets will be in larger dealerships although one dealer, Netz-Higashi Nagoya, plans to take the sales push one step further by opening a shop specialising only in the 86 in a space adjacent to its Nishikicho store in the city of Toyota, where the carmaker is headquartered.

Netz-Higashi Nagoya hopes the shop, which will have a floor space of 160 sq m, will serve as a place where car fans can get together and exchange information with the staff and among themselves.

Dealers are reporting a lot of interest from young buyers. Toyota president and CEO Akio Toyoda, said: "It is said that young people today have little interest in automobiles. But I don't think it is that they have developed a dislike for cars, but rather that automakers have tended to move away from young people and car lovers."

Toyoda said he wants the release of the 86 to be taken as a "message that Toyota will be a company for car lovers again".

Toyota dealerships have received orders for roughly 7,000 86s in the first month in which pre-orders have been accepted, 10 times the monthly sales target.

The model is also built as a Subaru and both will be exported.

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