No, this is not another installment of Steve Lang’s “Lease, Rent, Sell or Keep?” series. Wards Auto is reporting that Toyota facing a decision over whether to kill its Matrix hatchback when a new version of the Corolla on which it is based debuts sometime “before 2013.” Toyota’s Bob Carter tells Wards that
Thereâ€™s no change right now on the car, (but) we havenâ€™t made the decision yet
So, what to do? Toyota doesn’t break sales of the Matrix out from the Corolla, but according to Wards:
The hatchback reached its pinnacle in 2002, selling 66,836 units, Wardâ€™s data shows.
Annual deliveries have declined since then, except for 2008, the second-generation modelâ€™s first full year.
However, Matrix volume plunged 47.3% to 26,121 in 2009, from 2008â€™s 49,567, and last year slid 44.5%, with only 14,492 deliveries.
Toyota’s Carter insists that the forthcoming “Prius C” compact hatch “attracts a different type of buyer,”Â an argument he’d probably also apply to the Scion xB, another Corolla-based hatchback. So, should Toyota develop a new Matrix along the lines of its predecessors in hopes that the third iteration brings back some magic to the nameplate? Or, would a re-styled xB make a better Toyota than Scion, opening up Scion’s lineup for a version of the Verso-S? Or perhaps Toyota could offer its European Auris as a Hyundai Elantra Touring-style contrast to the very American Corolla. Or, Toyota could look to the Verso for a larger, more utilitarian alternative to a traditional Matrix.
In any case, with so many possible options, it’s no wonder Toyota hasn’t made a decision yet…