In the modern Internet age, the traditional spy photo or whispered insider hint have been supplemented by poking around and paying attention to legal filings as sources of information for carmakers’ future plans. The European Union’s patent office has, in the past, provided advance peeks at the Suzuki Kizashi, the Nissan 370Z Roadster and the latest Mazda3, to name but a few examples. And perusing trademark and copyright applications and registrations filed by carmakers can also provide vital clues to their possible future plans.
An online friend in the right places has, in the past, helped this author break the story of Lexus’ naming of the IS 250C / IS 300C / IS 350C and CT 200h (plus possible upcoming CT 300h and CT 400h variants) months or even years before their release.
Now comes word, via a thread on the my.IS forums that Toyota, on 27 May 2010 filed U.S. Trademark Application No. 85049145 and Canadian Trade-Mark Application No. 1482643 for the FR-S trademark, to be used for “Automobiles and structural parts thereof”.
The author of that post speculates that this may well be the official name for the Toyota version of the Toyota/Subaru collaboration car, a.k.a. FT-86 or 086A, a conclusion with which I strongly concur. Yet, I must admit to being previously convinced that the production version of Toyota’s FT-86 would, instead, revive the Celica moniker. So, it is interesting to note that the apparent production name of the Toyota half of the Toyobaru coupe references neither the legendary Corolla AE86 coupe nor the Celica, but rather, the MR-S (Midship Runabout-Spyder), the Japanese Domestic Market name for the Toyota MR2 Spyder. An educated guess is that FR-S stands for Front(-engined) Rear(-wheel drive)-Sports. There is also a more remote possibility that Toyota will revive a name it already “owns” (such as Celica, Sprinter or Trueno) and use FR-S as a denominator for a higher-performance variant.
Another earlier filing also bears watching. Back in 20 October 2009, Toyota filed for the TX trademark under U.S. Trademark Application No. 77852551. That one, this author suspects, is for the long-rumored Lexus sub-RX small crossover SUV believed to be a Toyota RAV4 derivative. A direct rival to the Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLK and upcoming BMW X1, if you will.
Photo of Toyota FT-86 Concept from Toyota USA Newsroom
Our thanks to my.IS member k3vo for providing this information