In 2017, Toyota fans had their hopes up when the automaker filed a trademark for the Celica name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In particular, rumors spread that the Celica might be making a comeback. Nearly four years passed, and there are still no signs of a new Celica on the horizon. Interestingly though, Toyota has filed yet another trademark at the PTO for the name Celica this year.
The Celica trademark was filed on January 15, 2021, with the USPTO, specifically for “automobiles and structural parts thereof.” While this might indicate that an all-new model will arrive, it could also be Toyota retaining the rights and protecting the name. However, applying for the trademark within a few years suggests that the automaker could use it very soon. Whether for an all-new sports car model or some special edition is uncertain.
If Toyota does bring back the Celica, the question then would be what platform will they use. Toyota could partner with another automaker, just like what they did with the GR Supra to cut costs. It could also use a modified Corolla chassis with a coupe body on top.
Then there's the drivetrain. Earlier generation Celicas we're rear-wheel-drive only. It wasn't until 1985 did the drivetrain layout change to front-wheel-drive. Subsequently, it was offered together with turbocharged all-wheel-drive versions.
While the chances of Toyota holding on to the Celica nameplate is the likeliest reason, it's fun to speculate about its possible return. The nameplate also turned 50-years old last year. As a result, it might be the perfect time for the Celica to make it out of patent office filing cabinets and come back as an actual vehicle.