The Toyota GR86 Had Its Name Changed Because Google Didn’t Like It

Article Highlights:

  • Toyota changed the name of the GR86 after the launch
  • How SEO rules the online content industry
  • Is this the last hurdle for the GR86?

Today, we’re going to let you in on a little inside baseball. For those of you that want to know what rules the minds of auto journalists everywhere, listen up. No, it isn’t that super cheap likely unreliable Audi on Cars and Bids. It’s called SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. But what does that have to do with Toyota changing the name of the Toyota GR86? Read on.

What on earth is SEO?

The google logo displayed on a cell phone
The Google logo | Jakub Porzycki via Getty Images

RELATED: Toyota GR86 Pricing and Options Are Here: What’s the Best 86 You Can Buy?

Search Engine Optimization is, in short, how you see all of the content you see on that little pocket computer. It’s why all your favorite YouTubers tell you to “LiKe ComMenT SubScrIbe GuYs!” You see, Toyota realized you weren’t seeing enough of the new GR86 because of SEO, both on YouTube and elsewhere. But more on that later. To understand why SEO made the Japanese automaker change the name of an entire car, we need to understand what SEO is. As said above, it’s the algorithm that shows you stuff you like on the Google.

It’s a set of practices used by authors such as myself (to varying degrees of success, depending on who’s reading this) to make their content more visible. At the heart of this is keywords. For example, if you look up “best Chinese food near me,” the Google will show you articles and results about Chinese food that it knows is close to you. Simple enough, but poor SEO can make or break an article just like this one. And it broke Toyota.

The Toyota GR86 bows to the will Google

A red Toyota GR86 shot from the front 3/4 in a photo booth
The newest iteration of the 86 | Toyota

Ahead of the Toyota GR86’s launch, the brand had initially penned the name “GR 86.” That was a result of the addition of the “Gazoo Racing” title added to the existing 86 name. As a Toyota rep told Carscoops, this didn’t work so well. Toyota said that “We want people to be able to find the car easily when looking online.” Sounds like SEO doesn’t it? Turns out, that space between “GR” and “86” was messing with Toyota’s efforts to market the new sports car.

Carscoops also said that hashtags on Twitter were also making it hard for people to find info about the car. Searches would be inputted as either “#GR” or “#86” instead of what Toyota really needed: “#GR86”. While the damage has largely been undone, a quick search on Twitter does yield different results based on which of those queries you enter.

Does name like any other make the GR86 a good car?

A profile shot of the new GR86
The 2022 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

Marketing is key in the auto biz, and it’s easy to see why Toyota would want to make that critical aspect of a car’s launch that much easier on themselves. Thankfully, that doesn’t stop the Toyota GR86 from being a killer small sports car. Toyota remedied just about every issue people had with the last model, from the power to the interior, and now the brand has fixed what’ll likely be the last thorn in the 86’s side.

RELATED: The 2022 Toyota Camry Gets an Update Despite Shrinking Mid-Size Sedan Market