Toyota's 2013 Scion FR-S price may send sports car lovers to dealerships
When Toyota and Subaru decided to combine their many strengths to create an entirely new true sports car, enthusiasts asked two questions. Would the car be a true rear-drive sports coupe, and where would the price point be? The platform, concept version, and now the final production car are rear-wheel-drive answering the debate about the car being a sports car with a resounding “Yes!” Now we have the pricing and it seems that Toyota has nailed the sweet spot for the young car enthusiast demographic as well as the mid-life crisis third car buyer.
In a much anticipated announcement Toyota has announced that the Scion FR-S with a six speed manual transmission will start at just $24,200 (MSRP). With the paddle-shifted 6 speed automatic borrowed from the Lexus IS line-up, the FR-S will start at an incredibly low $25,300. These prices are sure to send sports car buyers to the dealer lots in droves, reminiscent of the stampede that happened when the Subaru WRX was first introduced to the US. Pent up demand for an entry level pure sports car has been building as the marketplace for affordable performance moved upscale and became more and more expensive.
The new Subaru and Scion cars will compete directly with the hugely popular Mazda MX-5 Miata. Although the Miata is renowned as a roadster, it is also one of the very few pure sports cars available at a low initial price point. By pricing their cars in the mid-$20s, Toyota and Scion will surely steal market share from those buying Miatas primarily for its sporty nature. Cruisers will still always seek the drop top design. However, since the coupe version of the Scion FR-S is priced fully $5,000 below the Miata Grand Touring, if Toyota and decides to perform a top-ectomy on their sports car a sports car rivalry may develop that would remind some of the pony car wars or the WRX/EVO rivalry.
Toyota dominated the affordable, rear-drive sports car market in America in the 1970s. The rear-drive Celica, and its performance version, the Celica GTS, as well as many sporty Corollas, were favorites of enthusiasts. Stepping up to a Celica Supra brought more luxury, but not much more driving pleasure. Rivals such as the Datsun 260Z rounded out the segment. Sadly, over time the Supra became a near super-car and far more expensive, and the Celica was moved to a cheaper front-drive platform. The Datsun 260Z grew a mustache, started wearing gold chains, and became the Nissan 300ZX, priced for those with gobs of disposable income.
Toyota and Subaru have created a new pure sports car priced in the mid-twenty thousands that will be sure to be successful at such a reasonable price point.