“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.
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.
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-S, FR-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?
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.
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.