By on March 3, 2017

2018 Toyota C-HR - Image: Toyota

Toyota hasn’t even delivered the new 2018 C-HR to dealers and there are already plans to supplement the automaker’s subcompact crossover lineup.

In concert with the C-HR’s U.S. launch next month, April 2017 will also play host to the Toyota debut of a small crossover concept at the New York International Auto Show if all goes according to plan.

“I think we’re very well set up (with the C-HR and midsize RAV4 CUV), but we’re also kind of looking at what else could we be doing there if this continues to be a growing segment, which we anticipate it will,” Bill Fay, vice president for the Toyota division, told Wards Auto.

Toyota expects to sell 60,000 C-HRs in the United States annually, more than the Yaris, Yaris iA, and Prius C combined. For America’s third-highest-volume SUV brand, that’s apparently not enough.

Slip an extra SUV on the barbie.

It’s not difficult to understand why the nascent subcompact crossover segment holds such appeal to automakers. The subcompact cars that have forever existed as a means of courting young and first-time new car buyers have never been the providers of significant profit in North America, where consumers are five times more likely to choose a more refined, spacious, and powerful compact with little financial or fuel economy penalty.

But take that subcompact platform and elevate the price, sometimes dramatically, and the equation is flipped on its head.

Just look at Mazda, formerly a niche player in the subcompact car category with the Mazda 2 and now a lower-tier candidate in the subcompact crossover category. In 2014, Mazda sold fewer than 14,000 copies of the Mazda 2, priced roughly between $15,000–17,000. In 2016, the Mazda CX-3 — at its core, an elevated next-generation Mazda 2 — attracted nearly 19,000 buyers with MSRPs ranging from $20,900–27,180 — and an inordinately high number of the CX-3s sold are of the more costly sort.

With the lure of greater profit potential and the clear shift in demand toward utility vehicles across the industry, automakers are stocking up their small CUV shelves.

To the Nissan Rogue and Juke (and/or the Nissan Kicks), Nissan will fill an apparent void with the Rogue Sport, a rebadged Qashqai.

Below the Cherokee, Jeep will sell the new tweener-sized Compass along with the Renegade, a subcompact crossover sales leader.

General Motors taps two different subcompact CUV price points with the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore, which together owned nearly 30 percent of America’s subcompact crossover market in 2016.

Mitsubishi will squeeze the ghastly Eclipse Cross in between a smaller Outlander Sport and the Outlander.

And before Toyota sells its first C-HR in America, Toyota clearly intends to investigate the possibility of a C-HR cohort. In fact, based on Bill Fay’s language to Wards, the investigatory period may well be past the concept stage. Pointing to the hyperactivity in the segment, “I think everybody is looking at, ‘What’s the best way to meet that customer demand?'” Fay says.

Of course, an all-wheel-drive option would at least propel the 2018 Toyota C-HR into the center of the subcompact crossover argument. Available with AWD in other markets, the C-HR arrives in the United States with front-wheel drive, a 144-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and dimensions that essentially match the old Toyota Matrix.

2013 Toyota Me.We Concept - Image: Toyota Europe

Another subcompact crossover? The Toyota C-HR doesn’t even meet the TTAC Slack chat definition of a crossover. Perhaps Toyota’s New York concept car debut will.

Toyota has shown small SUV concepts in the recent past: the Urban Utility in 2014 and the ME.WE in 2013, pictured above.

More recently, U.S. sales of subcompact crossovers are up 13 percent through the first two months of 2017 in a overall market that’s declined nearly 2 percent.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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28 Comments on “Toyota Launches C-HR In April, Plans To Unveil Another Subcompact Crossover At The New York Auto Show In April...”


  • avatar
    mcs

    Since Toyota already has a rebadged Mazda 2 in their showrooms, why not add a predator face to the CX-3 and be done with it. Mazda wouldn’t mind.

    By the way. Toyota managed to move 27,983 Mazda 2s with Toyota and Scion badges attached in 2016. Imagine what they could do with the CX-3.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      I tried liking the cx-3 but the price gets ridiculous for such a small interior space. Visibility is also not best in class. So not sure is Toyota can rebadge this vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Sure they can rebadge it. Like Mazda is going to refuse the magic that happens when a Toyota badge is slapped on one of their cars. Minimal development costs. They’re already pretty much familiar with it, so service wouldn’t be an issue. The smallness won’t be a problem since they don’t want it to be larger than a C-HR.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Toyota is trying to confuse consumers. I wonder if Honda will sue them. C-HR seems too close to HR-V and CR-V and a conflation of the two.

    Toyota should call it the RAV2. But I can understand why Toyota would like the confusion.

  • avatar
    Tumbling-Dice

    Maybe it will be a more traditional-appearing vehicle that you can actually, you know, fricking see out of, either as a driver looking back or as a back seat passenger. It could be to the Rogue Sport as the C-HR is to the Juke.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Perhaps a midsize 5 seat crossover? Bigger than RAV smaller than highlander. Ford edge/ Nissan Murano sized?

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Overly dramatic Timothy. Eclipse Cross scares you huh.
    Much prefer the design of Eclipse Cross over the C-HR.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I’ll be extremely mad if the B&B doesn’t rake this thing over the coals if the ground clearance isn’t any higher than a Corolla.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    Today on ‘Who Can Make The Ugliest Crossover’!

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Bye bye record Camry sales and sedans in general.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Quite a bit late to the party, I guess the Toyota brains thought this CUV craze was gonna be short lived.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    I may be driving long enough to say “F-uh you do-ru-fin and F-uh you wa-e-ru!” and just have them end up confiscating my Equinox keys.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Remember the Scion xD, a rebodied Yaris? It got a lift kit for the EU a while back:

    http://www.toyota-global.com/showroom/vehicle_gallery/result/urban_cruiser/

    And there’s a TNGA Yaris due in a year or so, perhaps this is a preview.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    I haven’t seen a CHR in that red colour before. There’s a silver one in the company carpark, which looks great, and I’ve seen a much darker one, which doesn’t look so good. I’m not a lover of SUVs or crossovers, but I find the CHR more interesting than any other current Toyota ( except the GT86).

  • avatar

    This whole compact SUV segment makes me sick. The cars are heavier, taller, slower, less fuel efficient, costlier, ride more harshly, handle worse, and have less interior space. Just so that buyers can say they have a “crossover”. It’s ridiculous. I love everything that Mazda makes, notably the Mazda3 and the CX-5, yet I loathe the CX-3. The reorientation of the great Mazda3 into a crossover simply ruins it for all the reasons stated above.
    My fiancee’ is interested in the C-HR. We’ll go drive it when it comes out and she’ll likely realize that 133hp will be wholly unsatisfying after having been driving 6-cyl BMW’s for a couple years. If someone wants a Toyota in this segment, the iM is a much better choice, yet it’s cheaper for a better car!

    • 0 avatar
      rolando

      I dislike CUVs in General. But for Mazda, it makes sense to “GLA” the the 3 into a “CX4” and collect the $$$. Keep a low end “sport” model for the 3 and a “lowered” CX4 Speed model for us drivers!

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    You ain’t gettin’ no dishwasher home in that crumpled-up little ball of ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      To be fair, why would you bother bringing a dishwasher home when you can pay the whitegoods store a $20 spot and have it delivered?

      At most peoples stage in life who are looking for a small CUV you can just pay money to get things solved.

      The CH-R is actually selling up a storm in all markets that its sold in. Sure the rear seat space is tiny and claustrophobic and the tailgate entry space is small but so what? That’s not the point.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        Well, yeah… I was kinda just using dishwasher as a universally grasped volume reference but OK, Mr. Picky, you ain’t bringin’ home Oddjob’s compacted Continental nor History’s largest Chunky bar in one, neither.

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