Toyota The New Buick?

 My uncle used to own a Buick Roadmaster, an absolute boat of a car. While it was extremely comfortable to ride in, there wasn't much there to get your blood pumping, unless you got into a corner too fast. Then it was like trying to keep the Titanic from striking the iceberg.

 He recently replaced the land yacht, with a Toyota Camry. It's a fine automobile, and I'm glad he picked it out of the many possibilities in the market. It should prove to be a faithful companion, but it illustrates the problem facing Toyota, aging customers.

 In the ongoing quest to improve the breed, cars like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic are now larger than the original Camry and Accord. It's been a successful strategy so far, but with the advent of the Scion Brand, Toyota has recognized that it needs an injection of youth, else it ends up like Buick and Oldsmobile, with vehicles that only appeal to older customers.

 While Scion has been successful so far, I don't know if it will translate into eventual customers for Toyota. During the 80's, Toyota offered much for the young driver, with the Tercel anchoring the bottom, the Corolla GT-S, MR2, and Celica covering the middle, and the Supra on the top. The Tercel became the Echo, which has flopped, the Corolla GT-S has been gone for quite some time, along with the Supra, and this is the last year for the Celica and MR-S. The only car that can claim to be sporty in the Toyota line-up is now the Solara, basically Toyota's version of the Thunderbird/Cougar personal luxury coupe.

 For someone like me, a teenager during the 80's, I still remember the sporting side of Toyota, and Scion just doesn't fit the bill. The new TC is a fine replacement for the Corolla GT-S, but it ends there. What I'd like to see is a return of the original MR2, based off the Echo/XA-XB platform. Keep it light and simple, and don't move it upmarket. I know the MR2 went upmarket partially because insurance ona two-seater is outrageous, so maybe Toyota could offer insurance as part of the loan or lease (at least a year's worth), lessening the price shock.

 The sporting side of Toyota appears to be on life support right now, hopefully Scion can light a spark under the bosses at Toyota. Without sporting vehicles, an automaker faces a long and painful decline a'la Oldsmobile, Plymouth, and Mercury.


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