Tag Archives: Convertible

Scion “Went Down Swinging,” But FR-S Convertible Will Not Be Built

We’re going down, down in an earlier round and sugar we’re going down swinging

The FR-S convertible is dead. Scion fought for the car and despite Subaru’s veto, Toyota was planning to manufacture the car itself, but there was no market outside the United States that could anticipate sales high enough to justify production.

“So on the convertible we went down swinging,” Scion Senior Vice President Doug Murtha told WardsAuto. I think we were pretty aggressive on our (submitted plan), but we looked at what we would have conceivably lost on the product and said, ‘We’re not going to even push it further.Nobody was more disappointed than we were.”

Scion FR-S sales have been declining steeply, which is to be expected when a car has been around for a couple years, so Scion is looking for something to get buyers interested again. It won’t be a turbo model though, according to Murtha “that’s not something that’s coming.” That technically leave the possibility of a 2.5-liter FR-S though, so there’s still hope for more power For now, Scion is banking on the Release Series 1.0 reawakening the public’s love of the car, or maybe they’ll actually build the FR-S Targa

The car dealers that were shown the convertible FR-S as an incentive to keep their Scion branches open must feel awful, like they were dealing with a company that didn’t care about honesty at all and would say anything to keep them around longer, hoping that the more time they invested, the less likely they were to walk away. So now they know how it feels.

Scion FR-S Convertible On Sale By End Of 2014

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The Scion FR-S Convertible has had a tumultuous incubation. Toyota developed the concept FR-S convertible for the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and showed it off to U.S. Toyota dealers that year as an incentive to keep those dealers from dropping the Scion brand altogether. Subaru vetoed the idea of an FR-S and BRZ Convertible, saying that the extra weight of the removable top would compromise the BRZ’s sporty feel. Since then, Toyota has publicly pondered going ahead with the FR-S Convertible alone, and now it looks like the drop top FR-S will finally see the light of day.

Motor Trend claims that the Scion FR-S Convertible will hit showroom floors in October 2014, only six months from now. The FR-S Convertible’s price will be between $35,000 and $38,000, about $10,000 more than the FR-S starts at. The FR-S Convertible’s weight will go up by about 60-lbs thanks to the power top, which will be enough to necessitate minor suspension upgrades. That power top should fold down in less than 20 seconds.

Toyota Exec Says Disappointing FR-S Sales May Kill Plans for New Models

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The Scion FR-S and Toyota FT-86 have lagged behind sales predictions and new models could be in jeopardy. The Scion FR-S was an ambitious move on Toyota’s part, giving the company its first sports car since the Supra was discontinued, but now sales are slipping and the company says new models like the 2.5 liter FR-SFR-S convertible, and 4-door Scion FR-S Sedan may be in danger.

Auto Express spoke to Toyota Vice President for European R&D Gerald Killmann who said that the FR-S’ sales are too slow for the company to justify new models.

“A faster version of that car would be at the top of most people’s wish lists, but like the cabriolet, it is hard to justify a business case to push either model into production based on the current sales,” Killmann said.

What Toyota needs to realize is that with the FR-S, they aren’t selling a Corolla that people will buy year after year no matter what. They have a sports car that is both a novelty and a status symbol. When the novelty of a sport car wears off and its power as a status symbol is diluted by identical models available used, it needs to refreshed and upgraded. Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Jaguar all sell the same sports cars for several years but all understand that after the initial release, buyers need a new incentive to buy a new car. Special editions like the FR-S Monogram, convertibles and more powerful models all renew the market’s interest in sports cars once the initial desire wears down.

So will Toyota follow the lead of the companies that have made their careers selling sports cars and make the next few years of the FR-S exciting with more options and models? Or will the most boring car company in the world cut and run on its sports car experiment and go back to churning out beige Camrys for the buffet crowd?

Scion FR-S Convertible Not Dead Yet

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In a will-they-won’t-they more dramatic than Ted and Robin or Ross and Rachel or Tyrion and Cersei (there’s tension there, don’t act like you haven’t wondered) Toyota might decide to go on without Subaru and build a Scion FR-S convertible on its own. Subaru has said that there was no chance for a convertible built on the Subaru BRZ/ Scion FR-S chassis because of safety and performance concerns and since the engineering and construction of the cars is Subaru’s responsibility, the drop top looked dead . Now a Toyota exec is saying the Scion FR-S convertible might get a chance at life, engineered and manufactured by Toyota alone.

Doug Murtha, Scion vice president for North America, said that Toyota is considering moving forward with the Scion FR-S convertible without Subaru and has asked each region to estimate sales of the potential FR-S drop top.

Subaru had said in no uncertain terms that the Scion FR-S convertible prototypes shown to the public and to dealers were just design exercises that had no chance of production. The engineering that would go into maintaining the Subaru BRZ’s performance and safety with the removal of the roof would make the project too expensive for Subaru to undertake.

Murtha understands why Subaru wouldn’t want to purse a BRZ convertible:

“When you look at their global volume relative to our global volume, convert that to (their potential share of the convertible segment), and it’s probably more in Toyota’s interest to pursue a vehicle like that,” he told Ward’s Auto.

The Scion FR-S’ second year of sales missed the company’s 20,000 unit projections, so now Scion is looking for ways to increase sales. The convertible option would be an obvious, if costly way to move cars. Scion does have more limited edition models from the FR-S Series, as well as the upcoming high-end Monogram Edition. The 250-horsepower 2.5-liter Scion FR-S will definitely increase sales, while the potential hybrid model is a little more of a gamble. A sedan FR-S 4-door with a turbocharger and all-wheel drive has also been considered but like the FR-S convertible it could be shot down by Subaru because it would compete too closely with the WRX.

Subaru Says Engineering, Safety Problems Make BRZ & FR-S Convertibles Impossible

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Toyota has been pushing the Scion FR-S convertible concept pretty hard over the last year. The beautiful drop top FR-S was even shown to Toyota dealers as an incentive to keep them from dropping the Scion brand. Now, however, Subaru has come out and said that the BRZ and FR-S convertible will never happen, citing safety concerns and engineering problems.

Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru’s parent company) president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said that a convertible version of the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S is not a possibility.

“We make the car, so if we don’t make it, it can’t happen,” Yoshinaga told Automotive News.”Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change.”

Toyota has been bullish on the FR-S convertible. In addition to teasing an FR-S to U.S. Dealers, Toyota showed off a new version of the FR-S convertible at the Tokyo Motor Show with an electric powered automatic top.

“I understand well that Toyota is receiving strong requests from the American market for the car,” Yoshinaga said. “But the biggest challenge is meeting our internal safety standards. There are big technical difficulties.”

 

Image via Autoblog.

Scion FR-S Convertible

The Scion FR-S Convertible concept car was revealed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. The Scion FR-S Open Concept – the official name of the FR-S convertible preproduction model – shows a very near production prototype of the convertible FR-S with a blue top and white paint. The Scion FR-S convertible concept was also shown at the 2013 national Toyota dealers meeting in Atlanta as an incentive for dealers to keep the Scion brand.
The future of the Scion FR-S convertible is uncertain. A dealer at the 2013 national dealers convention told Automotive News “They don’t show product they don’t plan on building,” but added that Subaru might still have veto power over the drop top FR-S and BRZ. There have also been concerns within Toyota that the FR-S convertible may require too high a price point to appeal to the intended customer.

Geneva Motor Show images via Autoblog.

Scion FR-S Convertible Used to Convince Toyota Dealers Not To Drop Scion

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The bad news if you’re eagerly anticipating the Scion FR-S convertible: Your local Toyota dealer may have dropped Scion by the time the FR-S convertible is on sale.

The good news is that Toyota showed off the FR-S convertible concept that originally debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013 to the dealers in hopes of enticing them to stay the course.   The FR-S Convertible is one of the two preproduction cars that Toyota showed off at the dealer meeting. The other was a competitor for the Nissan Juke.

Toyota is hoping to drop some of the 1,000 current Scion dealerships and announced at the dealer meeting that it would be allowing dealerships to stop carrying the Scion brand with no consequences. Toyota initially intended for about half of all dealers to sell the Scion line, but when the brand proved popular nearly all dealerships decided to carry Scions. Currently about 1,000 of Toyota’s 1,225 dealers carry Scion, according to Automotive News.