Toyota has been aggressively refreshing and renewing most of its entire model line. However, the future of the aging Matrix remains uncertain, and a new report suggests the company may simply drop the Corolla-based hatchback from its U.S. lineup in the near future.
We can’t say that we’re terribly surprised by the Automotive News report, which quoted Toyota division boss Bill Fay saying “If we don’t have the Matrix, it won’t be the end of the world.” The Matrix has long been an outlier in Toyota’s lineup – the compact hatch bodystyle is not one that sells well in the U.S. and the car has no counterpart in other markets. (Toyota does sell the Auris hatch elsewhere, but it’s not related to the Matrix.) However, the Matrix is also rumored to live on in Canada. The first-generation Matrix debuted in 2003 and was part of a California manufacturing tie-up between Toyota and General Motors; the Matrix was twinned with the Pontiac Vibe. The current, second-generation Matrix came out in 2009 and has seen minimal change since.
Fay also told AN to expect a revised Tundra and an updated Highlander next year, along with the new Corolla, Avalon, and RAV4; missing from that list is the Matrix hatch. We’ve already seen the RAV4 and driven the Avalon. We’ve already spotted the 2014 Corolla out testing, but only in sedan guise. We should see the all-new Corolla at January’s Detroit auto show and not with a Matrix hatchback by its side. The Tundra and Highlander will come later in the year; however, a source confirmed to us that the Tundra’s updates will be purely aesthetic and quite minimal – don’t expect to see any updates to the truck’s powertrains. Fay also confirmed to AN that Scion will show off replacements for the ageing xB and xD hatches at the New York show in late March, which will also help to plug the hole left by the Matrix.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)