Toyota Matrix likely to be droppedMon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 -0800
Toyota will roll out Tundra and Corolla redesigns next year and will revise the RAV4, Avalon and Highlander, but there are some things the division probably won't do.
For example, there is a strong possibility that the Corolla-based Matrix hatchback will not be renewed for the United States when the Corolla redesign comes next fall.
"If we don't have the Matrix, it won't be the end of the world," said Toyota Division boss Bill Fay at the press introduction of the RAV4 in Phoenix.
Canada will continue to get the Matrix, he said.
And while Honda has decided to build a subcompact crossover based on the Fit platform, Fay said Toyota has no plans to add a crossover below the RAV4.
"The RAV is as small as we want to get," he said. "I am confident with where Toyota is with that. It meets all or most of our customer needs in that segment. We're fine."
The Toyota brand gained 1.4 points of market share, to 12.2 percent, in 2012. Fay said it "will try to continue to grow faster than the industry" in 2013, but he declined to give a volume target.
Toyota likely will launch its "Let's Go Places" umbrella advertising campaign with a commercial during the Super Bowl, although Fay said he's not sure if it will feature the RAV4, Avalon or both.
Scion sales are up 51 percent this year and likely will finish at around 75,000 units. But that is still far short of where Fay wants to see the brand.
"In the near term, I'd like to see more like 100,000," he said. "There needs to be a certain volume to keep everyone's attention.
"Of course, our dealers would love to see Scion at 200 or 300,000, and we continue to talk to them about Scion being about more than just volume," Fay said.
Helping to boost the brand will be replacements of the xB and xD compact hatchbacks, to be introduced at the New York auto show in March. Scion also will have several special edition vehicles commemorating the 10th anniversary of the brand, he said.
By Mark Rechtin- Automotive News