Toyota has filed for a trademark of the Celica name

Toyota has filed for a ownership of the name “Celica” with the US Patent and Trademark Office. While this might indicate nothing more than a desire to hold on to the rights to that name, there’s been some speculation that Toyota could bring the model back.

The trademark filing is pretty recent, dated January 15, 2021. It was noticed by CarBuzz, who offered the hypothesis that it might replace 86 as the name for the upcoming BRZ twin. After all, Subaru has fully revealed its second-generation sports coupe but Toyota has yet to utter a word about the 86.

While the name Celica does somewhat fit with the 86’s ethos — small, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive — the window for naming the Celica has probably passed. Since it started life as a Scion it didn’t make sense to apply the Celica name then. When Scion was killed in 2016 and the FR-S folded into the Toyota brand they simply changed the name to Toyota 86 to make it consistent with the rest of the world.

It would have also made historical sense to call the inline-four Supra the Celica, but Toyota said it would simply confuse customers. We agree, even though the original Supra was a six-cylinder offshoot of the Celica.

We think that given the difficult time Toyota’s had with the Supra, it’s highly unlikely they will offer a standalone model called the Celica. While a generational change might be a logical opportunity to rebrand, it would only cloud both the 86 and Celica names. A Celica isn’t a successor to the AE86, which the 86 was named for, and it would only anger the only people who would actually care what the car is called — us pedantic enthusiasts.

We suppose there might be some name recognition among the non-enthusiast public, and perhaps that’s enough of a reason for Toyota’s marketing department to revive a classic sports coupe name, like Mitsubishi did. But as much as we’d like to see a Celica revival, it should be done right. After all, the name has its own rich and important history.

Images courtesy of Toyota.

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13 Responses to Toyota has filed for a trademark of the Celica name

  1. cesariojpn says:

    SPOILER: Its gonna be slapped onto a SUV, like the E-Mustang and Eclipse.

  2. Mark F Newton-John says:

    Smaller than a RAV4, to compete with the Ford EcoSport… The CrossCelica! ?

    • Last Iconoclast says:

      At which point Mitsubishi will cry “foul” for encroaching on turf currently occupied by their similar sounding Delica.

  3. Land Ark says:

    They needed BMW to make the Supra. They needed Subaru to make the 86. Well, obviously, look for the Celica to be a reskinned 400Z.

    In actuality, I think it’ll just be Toyota retaining the naming rights. This sort of thing happens every couple years, everyone gets excited and nothing comes from it.

    Sadly, I realize no one makes an equivalent of the Celica today – at least in the form of its last few generations. There are no 2021 FWD coupes available for sale.

    • CycoPablo says:

      Sad times of SUV-worship.

      We could always bend the definition of “coupe” to include the most potent of two-door hatches…

  4. dankan says:

    I think it would be a better name than “86” which only worked for a few of us, it appears. That being said, I think Land Ark is right and it is just a move to retain control over the name. Of course, if we want to be pie-in-the-sky crazy, how about this:

    Toyota have said they’d like a three enthusiast model range, with the 86, Supra and GR Yaris. We know the GR Yaris is never coming to North America, but that the hardware is supposed to in allegedly a tweaked Corolla hatch. What if, instead of using the hatch shell, they go for broke with a sexier coupe (like they did with the GR Yaris), but instead of using the Corolla name, they bring back the Celica as a full-on Celica GR-Four? All the WRC glory, the historic name plate, and a more “North-American”-sized coupe for your driving pleasure.

  5. F31Roger says:

    If I hear Celica.. I honestly only think of Toyota.

    Probably just a formality of keeping the name and hopefully a come back in the future.

  6. Series1 says:

    We all know the 86 is more of Celica than a Corolla. Toyota has construed its history and naming into oblivion, and we are sad.

  7. Dillon R says:

    My hopes for the US market is the utilization of the turbo awd system from the GR Yaris into a US model Celica.
    Since the offering on the Corolla is anticipated to be the Turbo 3 FWD, it would make sense from the perspective of Heritage to revive an All-Trac.

    One can dream.

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