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Toyota Matrix likely to be dropped

New Scion cars are in the pipeline.

By AutoWeek Dec 17, 2012 12:35PM

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.

-- Mark Rechtin, Automotive News

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Dec 17, 2012 2:10PM
My mom drove a 1st generation Matrix for awhile, and it wasn't bad for a station wagon I guess.  It handled ok for a station wagon anyways.  I can say that I did not dislike it, 4 speed automatic and all.

However, this really does make sense.  The Matrix did seem to be stepping on Scion's toes a little with their xB and xD models.

If I were a betting man, I would bet that the Matrix is not done and may very well reappear soon as the Scion xE or something silly like that.

Dec 17, 2012 4:49PM
It's like saying goodbye to the Pontiac Vibe all over again....
Dec 18, 2012 6:07AM
"The Matrix may be the ticket for some but I don't see many of them on the road, especially compared to Toyota's other offerings, thus the reason they are probably dumping it."

The Matrix was made to compete with mazda Protege5 (323F GT); mazda has since moved on, they are doing diesel now in the form of mazda6, while TOYOTA did nothing and stayed frozen in time circa 2002.

TOYOTA was too busy peddling their SUV's, trucks, and gasoline-electric hybrids (circa 1997!) while technology passed the corporation by. That is what happens when a company starts suffering from the "UBS syndrome" and its vehicles are designed by committees.
Dec 18, 2012 5:41AM

That's a shame.  It's a pretty good car.  It just did not seem to develop a strong following.  Perception is everything and the styling of the Matrix (in my opinion) makes it look too much like a station wagon.  Unfortunately, station wagons still carry a stigma to them (ironic since most SUV's are just station wagons with 4-wheel drive).  The Matrix is actually a five-door hatchback like versions of the Mazda 3, VW Golf, or Ford Focus.  However, those are styled to look more like a five-door hatchback.  My wife has the same complaint about the Audi A3.  "It looks too much like a station wagon" she always says.  

Dec 18, 2012 9:46AM
"Hmmm, what makes more sense as a business, "peddle" your big sellers"

I do not want to own a vehicle built on compromises by committees. I do not want to own a vehicle whose sole purpose is to maximize the corporation's profits, rather than solving their customer's problems. Where does that leave me as a customer?
Dec 18, 2012 6:02AM
"I'd prefer the Volvo was the D5 that they off in other parts of the world, but the 2.5T is a good motor."

It is; I worked on that motor (and on that station wagon) quite a bit. That is one of the simplest cars ever built. Every time I work on a Volvo, I am compelled to admire the engineering elegance of its simplicity. Hands down, Volvo is one of the easiest cars to work on. I especially like their caliper brake system. Unbelievably simple to service, yet effective.

I know someone who has the D5 version. That thing has over 300 lb/ft of torque. Five speed manual. It is a rocket on wheels, not to mention ultra-practical with all that space. Economical. High speed. Tons and tons of space.
Dec 17, 2012 1:47PM
terrible decision the matrix is a great car and an easy variant of the corolla. 
The Rav4 was perfected in the early 2000's and is too big now. 
Dec 19, 2012 8:34AM
Aug 20, 2013 4:13PM
Perfect delivery vehicles.  We have 2.  I guess we have to find a different auto maker, as a Rav is too big.  Too bad for us I guess... (and Toyota)
Dec 18, 2012 5:55AM
"Outback and you could almost argue that the RAV4 covers everything that the Outback can. The Venza is almost a wagon as well."

Not only does it "cover" it, it rolls over it too!

As for the "Venza", it is a heavy SUV with a gasoline engine. Automatic only. I would never buy it.
There is a reason why "Venza" is made only for the U.S. market: no sane, practical person would own it, and consequently, TOYOTA wisely decided not to sell it anywhere else.
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