Why Toyota Shouldn’t Build a New Sports Car

Toyota sports car concept

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think Toyota should build an inexpensive sports car.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a freak about sports cars. I clamor for rear-wheel-drive, manual-shift, great-handling coupes and roadsters. I was thrilled when the Subaru BRZ came out, and I’ve gushed about the new Porsche Boxster and basically all iterations of the classic 911.

My brother-in-law races Miatas, and my father-in-law raced Porsches in his younger years.

I love sports cars and everything they represent.

There have been rumors that Toyota would build a sub-$20,000 RWD sports car, but, believe it or not, I don’t think it should.

A little coupe isn’t confirmed by Toyota, but rumors suggest it could be a retro-styled number weighing just over 2,000 pounds and powered by a 1.5-liter engine in the front that sends power to the rear wheels.

That sounds amazing on the surface. The problem is that it would be positioned to be the little brother to the Toyota GT-86, which is disguised on our shores as the Scion FR-S. Scion is already a little brother to Toyota, and throwing an even cheaper sibling into the mix would probably take sales away from the FR-S. Why sacrifice a great car for a good one?

With higher-performance trims coming for the FR-S, it makes more sense to let the base-level FR-S serve as the entry car with steps up available from there.

Plus we have the whole Supra thing to consider. With BMW and Toyota conspiring to build what could be a new Supra, Toyota has plenty of excitement on the horizon. Fielding three different sports car models sounds great in theory, but the reality of it just doesn’t make sense.

An idea that could work for Toyota is removing the FR-S from the lineup and replacing it with the Toyota-badged GT-86 and then introducing a smaller sports car as a Scion. That way there’s much less sales cannibalization, and all three cars could exist in harmony.

Unless that happens, let’s hope this small Toyota sports car remains an eternal rumor.

Should Toyota build a sub-$20,000 sports car?

-tgriffith

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