Toyota won't reveal a restyled tC sports coupe from its Scion division until Thursday, but one executive said to expect styling cues to follow the new FR-S. Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota’s U.S. arm, told reporters this morning that the FR-S' "halo" status atop the Scion brand meant the tC would follow in the same styling mold, especially in the rear. Carter spoke at the National Automobile Dealers Association/J.D. Power and Associates' 2013 Automotive Forum on the eve of this week's 2013 New York International Auto Show.
"You’ll see family resemblance of the FRS coming over to the tC," Carter said. "But you’ll still see about $5,000 difference" in transaction prices between the two, which should keep younger shoppers heading toward Scion's front-drive coupe. That suggests the next tC won't have a radically higher price. The current car starts at $19,480 including the destination charge. The FR-S, meanwhile, starts at $25,255.
Carter confirmed the next tC will continue to be front-wheel drive, keeping differentiation from the rear-drive FR-S. Interior quality may take a big leap over the current car, whose cost-cut materials drew our criticism when Scion introduced it in mid-2010. Toyota is "obsessed with styling, both interior and exterior," Carter said.Sales for the tC stayed roughly flat in 2012, but overall sales remain modest; the Honda Civic coupe outsold it roughly 3-to-1. Through February 2013, the FR-S already outsold Scion's front-drive coupe, despite the current tC being just three model years old. Stay tuned for our up-close impressions on the new tC at this week’s auto show.
Editor's note: This post was updated on March 29 to add the National Automobile Dealers Association to the list of the event's sponsors.