- The Toyota Matrix has been dropped from Toyota's 2014 lineup due to poor sales.
- A Toyota executive told Edmunds that the car suffered from an identity problem.
- Toyota is studying the possibility of adding a five-door hatchback to the Corolla lineup, however.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Toyota has quietly dropped the Toyota Matrix from its 2014 lineup, blaming poor sales.
The 2013 model was the final year for the car, which a Toyota vice president said suffered from an identity problem. Shoppers didn't know if the car was a wagon or a five-door hatchback, and in some cases didn't know the Matrix existed.
"It was an issue of asset allocation," Paul Holdridge, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. vice president of sales, told Edmunds. "The Matrix was something we looked at and said, we cannot fund it from a competitive set. Number two, we cannot advertise it and promote it. Number three, we don't build enough of them because our production was tied up in Corolla" so the decision was made to discontinue the vehicle.
Asked how Toyota described the car, he said: "It was really a Corolla wagon." He was interviewed at a Corolla event here.
The Matrix and the previous-generation Corolla shared a front-drive vehicle platform. The Corolla was redesigned for the 2014 model year. But when it came time to decide on the Matrix's future, the evidence clearly showed that U.S. buyers did not want the car.
Toyota sold about 291,000 Corolla and Matrix cars combined in 2012. However, the Matrix accounted for around 4,300 sales, a Toyota source said.This year Toyota is aiming to sell 300,000 Corollas here and 330,000 in 2014.
Holdridge said sometimes customers would enter a Toyota showroom and realize that a Corolla was too small for their needs.
"The salesman would suggest the Matrix" and the customer's response would be," 'Oh, really. I didn't even know you made it.' And that was part of our problem," Holdridge said.
While the addition of a Corolla wagon has been ruled out, a five-door hatchback is being studied. Hyundai added a five-door hatchback when it expanded the Elantra line last year.
"We are watching the competitors very closely on that," Holdridge said. "We will (not) be first to the market obviously, and we might now even be second. But we will watch that market and see where it goes."
Edmunds says: Consumers may still be able to find a 2013 Toyota Matrix on dealer lots, if they are really set on getting their hands on one.