Yay or Nay? Toyota Mulls Continuing Matrix For Third Generation

An all-new, next-generation Toyota Corolla is expected to arrive within the next two years, but there's still one unknown: will that car again spawn a hatchback variant for North America? New reports suggest Toyota officials are still mulling whether or not to continue the Matrix hatchback for a third generation. Should they?

Hatchbacks do provide additional cargo space and versatility, but they don't always resonate with buyers -- at least not here in America. Ward's notes sales of the second-generation Matrix, which premiered in 2008, have faltered ever since.

"There's no change right now on the car," Bob Carter, general manager and vice president for the Toyota division, recently told Ward's. "[But] we haven't made the decision yet."

Apart from the fifth door, D-pillars, and availability of all-wheel-drive, the Matrix is essentially mechanically identical to the Corolla --  in fact, it rides upon the same platform and powertrains.The Matrix -- along with its rebadged clone, the Pontiac Vibe -- launched in 2002, which wound up being the best sales year for the model. Sales totaled 66,836 in the Matrix's debut year, and slumped until 2008, when a revamped model boosted sales ever so slightly to 49,567.

Did the refresh double as a remedy? No. In 2009, Matrix volume dropped to 26,121 units; that figure decreased to 14,492 in 2010. Thus far in 2011, Matrix sales are down 37.3 percent, although some of that drop is partly attributed to a post-Japanese earthquake parts shortage.

Perhaps Americans' taste for non-hatch/wagons is to blame, yet other similar models do manage to outsell the Matrix. For instance, hatchbacks account for nearly 43 percent of all 2012 Ford Focus models sold in the U.S. Interestingly, the Matrix has typically perform better in Canada, where its available all-wheel-drive apparently find favor with some buyers. That said, even the 2011 Corolla has started to outsell the Matrix in the Great White North -- albeit only by a small margin.

So the question remains: should Toyota axe the Matrix altogether? Should it nip the model from its U.S. portfolio but continue selling it in Canada? What should Toyota take into consideration if a third-generation model is ultimately green-lighted for production? Share your wish list with the world by means of the comments section below.

Source: Wards

STEVE
Toyota needs to look at the golf, focus and kia. This car need to stay awd add a turbo 200hp 4cly with a bad ass redesign, keep it light as possible the see what happens to sales then! THE SKY 'S THE LIMIT.
Daniello
I think that Toyota bungled this car through it's latest redesign. It is horrible. Does not make any aesthetic sense, and it is hard on the eyes. That's why the sales dropped. But it is in line with many other Toyota models which have turned up ugle in the last remake: The Avalon, the 4-Runner (last two incarnations), the Lexus RX. It's hard to believe that such a big company employs such mediocre designers and that the executives went along with it. Up to now one could let it slide because Toyota is so reliable, but that is not the case anymore. It is both ugly and not as reliable as they used to be. That is why they should either redesign it, or just drop it in its current form.
autosoc
Toyota needs to get in the game. There is a market for the Matrix, just not the one now available. Increase fuel efficiency, integrate some major design elements, put in a 6 speed auto, maybe add a direct injection or a turbo or both, and sell it around the same price as a Kia. For the first time ever in the U.S., there is actually some competition -- the Koreans and Americans, and almost the Germans, are in the game.

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