Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

NEW YORK – The Scion FR-S sports coupe is a go for next year, but it remains a concept car for now to allow for final adjustments.

“We’re close to a final production model,” Jack Hollis, vice president of Toyota’s Scion unit, says after the unveiling of the rear-wheel-drive coupe at the New York International Auto Show.

The vehicle remains a work in progress, because “if we are doing a performance sports car, we want to do it right,” Hollis says. “We want feedback from driving enthusiasts and we want to fine tune it.”

Yet, he adds, “We wouldn’t change a lot.”

The FR-S was developed jointly by Toyota and fellow Japanese auto maker Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), in which Toyota holds a controlling stake.

Subaru is supplying the engine, a 4-cyl. boxer. Scion says the 2.0L engine’s compactness allows for mounting it lower and more towards the rear, giving the car a lower center of gravity.

“It’s our car with a Subaru engine,” Hollis says. “That’s about as far as the sharing will go. We created it for us.”

Subaru plans to introduce a similar model of its own.

Besides finalizing the FR-S’s product development, Scion is working on other aspects of the vehicle, such as price.

“It has to stay in the $20,000s,” Hollis says. “You go into the $30,000s and it changes people’s perceptions.”

Scion also is considering which vehicles the FR-S will compete against. “We won’t really know until we spec it out and set a price point,” Hollis says. “We haven’t finalized a competitive set.”

He expects the coupe will draw driving enthusiasts of various ages, but doesn’t envision many people defecting from Toyota, which over the years has offered performance cars, such as the Supra, but stopped making them due to low sales.

“It’s a different customer you’re bringing in,” Hollis says. “There is no reason to attract Toyota customers.”