It shouldn’t come as a terrible shock that Toyota executives are reportedly unconvinced that the rumored Scion FR-S hybrid sports car is a viable business option. Autocar reports that although Toyota engineers have the technology and capability to build a Scion FR-S hybrid, high costs and a small potential market make the project a low-likelihood prospect for production.
“We can create a product with this technology, but it needs to make proper business sense,” Toyota marketing director Fabio Capano told Autocar. “We have to prioritize.”
We were already skeptical whether a Scion FR-S hybrid would make sense, given that the FR-S is loved for its affordability, light weight, and simplicity — all traits that would go out the window were hybridization involved. Our colleagues at Motor Trend previously reported that an all-wheel-drive Scion FR-S hybrid would arrive as a sedan, adding a hybrid powertrain and in-wheel electric motors to the rumored 2.0-liter, 300-hp turbo four-cylinder FR-S sedan. The Scion FR-S hybrid sedan would cost approximately $50,000 — almost twice that of the $25,800 customers currently pay for a Scion FR-S coupe.
Toyota is hardly abandoning its hybrid sports car plans at large, however. The so-called Silk Road project being developed in collaboration with BMW is still a go, and Autocar reports that a larger sports car using a Le Mans-derived hybrid drivetrain combined with supercapacitor technology is on the way. BMW is expected to supply a small-displacement four-cylinder engine, front-wheel electric motors (for all-wheel drive) and lightweight technology derived from Project i, while Toyota will engineer the car’s torque vectoring and supercapacitor technology sourced from the TS030 LMP race car.
Speculation about additional Scion FR-S variants has wafted around the automotive world essentially since the FR-S and its twin, the Subaru BRZ, debuted. Chief among these are the aforementioned FR-S sedan, which would add 20 inches of length, 4 inches of height, and undoubtedly a chunk of extra weight. Although Subaru has denied involvement pointblank, Toyota is also in the development stages for a Scion FR-S convertible based on the FT-86 Open concept, which made the rounds during the 2013 auto show season. The power soft-top Scion FR-S would slap on more than 60 pounds of mass, and likely retain the 200-hp boxer-four used in the much-loved sport coupe.