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Dyslexic anagram: Toyota files S-FR trademark

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For an automotive make or model online fan forum to discover a new model trademark filing ahead of the A-list big boys of automotive journalism is hardly new or surprising in this day and age. I’ve been there. So chalk up one more for David, for the little guy when the administrator of the Supra MKV forums discovered a Toyota trademark (filed on 28 May 2015) that is bound to be a dyslexic’s nightmare for fans (and even detractors) of the Scion FR-S sports car: S-FR. For the most part, the blogosphere interpreted this as an abbreviation for Supra – Front engine, Rear wheel drive, and out came the pitchforks in fear that the rumored BMW/Toyota collaboration sports car based on the latter’s FT-1 concept would wear not the vaunted Supra badge but an alphabetical mumbo-jumbo easily confusable with its smaller sibling. Let’s chill, though, and remember that the Supra trademark itself is still very much alive at Toyota, last having been renewed, under trademark #86189112, on 10 February 2014.

Other pundits point to the on again-off-again rumors of a sub-GT86/FR-S sports car. In their latest iteration, Peter Lyon of Motoring.com.au suggests that the so-called 69DZ will feature styling inspired by the iconic Toyota Sports 800 sports car of the late 1960s on a bespoke chassis. Power will be provided by a yet-to-be-introduced 1.5-liter 2NR-FKE 4-cylinder engine producing 130 hp. Playing detective on Wikipedia, we conclude that this is an application of the 1329cc 1NR-FKE’s bells and whistles (Atkinson-to-Otto cycle capability, electric VVT-iE and intake port shape optimized for strong vertical tumble flow, all good for a near-hybrid maximum thermal efficiency of 38%) to the larger 1498cc 2NR-FE engine. This, by the way, is not to be confused with the 1497cc 1NZ-FE, that powers the Toyota Yaris in North America. Power is sent to the rear wheels via the FR-S/GT86’s Aisin 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and handling will allegedly be tuned by World Rally Championship legend Tommi Makinen.

Japan’s Best Car (via 4WheelsNews) adds to the 69DZ speculation by suggesting a 3-door squared-off hatchback body inspired by the unavailable-in-North America BMW 1-Series hatchback (and possible co-development with BMW!), torque figures of 150 Nm (110 lb/ft) at 4,500 rpm, a curb weight under 1000 kg (2200 lbs) and Yamaha co-development of the 2NR-FKE power plant. In contrast to Peter Lyon’s suggestions of Toyota Sports 800 and GT86 Style Cb influence, Best Car came up with the gorgeously irresistible but highly unlikely rendering shown above. They also predict the debut of a concept version at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show press day on October 29, with the production version due two years later at the 2017 Japanese show. And, if you want even more breathless speculation, an earlier article by Peter Lyon of Motoring.com.au has it in spades, including exterior dimensions, tire sizes and suspension specifications!

Supra MKV forums member Supra93 makes yet another intriguing suggestion: might the S-FR trademark be related to the star of the January 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon: the supercharged + turbocharged Toyota/Gazoo Racing GRMN Sports FR Concept Platinum Mk4 Supra/GT86 mashup shown at the top of our story? Perhaps, but this author loves the unassailable logic of at least a couple of internet pundits: the Toyota/BMW collaboration sports car atop the lineup is the Supra, in the middle sits the GT86/FR-S successor, renamed Celica, with the new S-FR at the bottom.

…and in other Toyota trademark news…
This S-FR trademark story piqued our curiosity as to what else was lurking at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, and we found a couple of interesting filings that haven’t received much attention. The most recent of these is Prius Prime, registered for “automobiles and structural parts thereof” on 26 March 2015, under serial number 86577082. Unless Google has been unusually inept in ferreting it out, there appears to be zero notice or discussion of this in “usual suspects” sites such as PriusChat, Green Car Reports, AutoblogGreen, or Green Car Congress. A number of possibilities come to mind for that badge: A fifth member of the “Prius family”? A top-of-the-line trim level for the 4th-generation Prius reportedly due in autumn of this year? A new denominator for the next-gen Prius Plug-In, possibly featuring a new wireless or inductive charging system? Or might Toyota decide to, for a limited time, offer the 3rd and 4th-gen Prius side-by-side in new car showrooms and give one of them the Prime denominator?

Longtime Toyota “engine geeks” are quite familiar with the terms D-4 (Direct Injection 4 Stroke Gasoline Engine) and D-4S (D-4 Superior) featuring dual direct + port injection in a 4-stroke gasoline engine. In preparation for a future where smaller-displacement turbocharged engines will play a prominent role, Toyota on 12 February 2014 registered D-4T and D-4ST trademarks. The first D-4T engine is the 1.2-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged 8NR-FTS that will be offered in Japan and Europe as an option for the mid-life facelift of the C-segment Auris 5-door hatchback and Touring Sports wagon. D-4ST made its debut in the 2-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged 8AR-FTS powerplant in Lexus’ NX 200t C-segment crossover SUV.

Meanwhile, over at Scion…
On 23 April 2015, Toyota received trademark number 86607390 for Scion iR. This is widely mooted for Scion’s third upcoming new model, believed to be a B-segment (or, perhaps, lower C-segment) sub-RAV4 crossover SUV based very loosely on the Toyota C-HR Concept (shown above) that debuted at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. Bear in mind, however, that Toyota also has live but still unused trademarks for tR, tD, tK and tZ that could well be used on the next new Scion model instead of iR.

What about Lexus?
When it comes to Toyota’s luxury brand, we discovered a good deal of new trademark information, including a couple of unexpected surprises. Stay tuned, for this merits its own separate story…

Finally, a caveat:
Filing for a trademark is not a guarantee that said mark will actually appear on a production vehicle. Trademark law in the United States allows for an initial filing good for 6 months, followed by five more 6-month extensions (for a total of 3 years). If the trademark remains unused in a product offered for production and sale within that period, then it goes dead and becomes available to anyone, or the original user can refile and start the process over again.

Toyota has a tendency to overfile trademarks that later go dead and unused. Among them, to name a random few, are FT-HT, tS, iD, Verve, Furia, Highrunner, El Capitan, Vaquero and Mojave.

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