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?