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Toyota held a news briefing today on the 2021 Toyota Supra for the press. It threw a bunch of information out, including details on how it intends to keep the model fresh every year, the company’s ongoing relationship with BMW, and when we should expect to see the refreshed 2021 Supra models hit dealerships.

Keeping Supra fresh

Jack Hollis, Toyota Group VP and GM, bolstered our learning about new Supra versions and changes coming down the road. The goal is to avoid sales hitting a wall and falling off over time.

“Our goal with the launch was to start there and keep it as flat as possible. We’d like to grow it, but that’s very difficult over time,” Hollis says. “The goal here is lifecycle management … going from one Supra to two Supras is a good way for us to go. Yes, there are some things down the road. There are some other lifecycle management tools that we believe will help us keep a flatter line versus the segment trend.”

Toyota sold about 2,900 units for the 2019 calendar year. The Supra went on sale July 22, and Toyota says the average transaction price was about $56,000-$57,000 in 2019.

“We don’t really put sales objectives on Supra,” Hollis says. “We look at it as this kind of halo vehicle that is plus business for the brand and for our dealers. We’re really pleased with the sales.”

Relationship with BMW

Much ink has been spilled about the relationship between Toyota and BMW concerning the Supra. Now that the car is launched, though, we were eager to learn how that relationship was getting on.

“As we go over time, there is more of a separation,” Hollis says. “While we still are bouncing our ideas off each other and sharing our information, we make an agreement to go our separate ways. … It’s not devoid of conversation. It’s not devoid of engineering … chief engineer Tada and his team stay in pretty constant contact with BMW on features.”

Ben Haushalter, Toyota’s senior manager of vehicle product planning, provided further details on how things were progressing.

“Toyota is still wholly responsible for the tuning and chassis setup on this car,” Haushalter says. “We have a team of engineers stationed in Munich that work side-by-side with BMW guys.”

When will we see the 2021 car?

Nick Miller, Toyota’s marketing manager, shed some light on when the 2021 Supra would launch. Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus has impacted Toyota’s plans, and the car is delayed.

“The plant that builds Supra right now, Magna Steyr, is closed right now due to COVID-19,” Miller says. “So it depends on when that plant is going to come back up. That should be in the next couple of weeks here, from what we understand. Before that plant shut down, we did have 400 model year 2021s built, and they’re on water now and on their way to the U.S.”

Those 400 2021 Supras will go on sale in June this year, but the four-cylinder hasn’t started production yet. As of now, it’s slated for July, and Toyota says it won’t arrive in the U.S. until fall. That amounts to a one- or two-month delay, based on Toyota’s previous launch schedule.

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