Toyota has shed more light on the reasons behind its decision to pull the spare wheel out of its range-topping 86 sports coupe only weeks after its launch – put simply, it stuffed up.
Company spokesman Mike Breen told Drive that when the company's local product planning team went to see the Toyota 86 in Japan late last year, no one noticed what the spare wheel looked like.
However, they were taken by surprise when the first of the built-for-Australia Toyota 86s arrived here and they realised the full-size spare chewed up much of the boot space.
"We hadn't seen the vehicle until some of our product planning people visited Japan late last year," Breen says.
"They actually hadn't seen the spare wheel in the boot at the time, and we had not realised how much it intruded into the area, and we realised that, apart from cosmetics, it just wouldn't provide useable luggage space that you'd need to fit a full-size overnight bag and things like that.
"That's why we decided to go with the tyre repair kit"
The Toyota 86's twin, the Subaru BRZ, continues with a full-sized spare tyre.
"When we requested it [the full-size spare] initially we didn't realise just how much it would intrude."
Breen says the cost of replacing the full-size spare wheel, jack and wheel brace works out to about the same as the cost of fitting the compressor and can of tyre repair goo inside a special housing in the boot well.
"We'd talked to TMC [Toyota Motor Corporation] in Japan about replacing the spare tyre with a repair kit and they told us they could do it for us because of how it intruded into the boot space," he says.
"They said because they'd already started to build them with a full-size spare it would take them probably six months after the start of production to do that.
"We hadn't had confirmation of that from TMC when the car was launched, so as soon as we found out we sent a bulletin out to dealers to advise them that customers that had already placed orders, but that bulletin made its way online before we could contact customers and talk to them.
"That is why, I guess, there was such a response from the customers."
Breen said a space-saver spare tyre was not available for the Toyota 86.
"That option wasn't available to us," Breen says. "I can't tell you why. All I know is that the option for us was the tyre repair kit."
Breen says the change to a tyre inflation kit included many benefits, including adding about six litres of luggage volume to the boot.
He adds that because the spare tyre protruded from the spare wheel well, removing it has also increased versatility by creating a flat load space.
Other reasons provided include the "reduced risk of damage" to items put in the boot, and a reduction in vehicle weight that improves the 86's power to weight ratio slightly, which Breen says is "a good thing for a sports car".
However, he was unable to provide figures on how much the weight saving gained from removing the spare wheel would alter the car's performance.