It’s not a secret for anyone that small cars aren’t doing very well in the United States. Buyers have been lured in recent years by small and compact crossovers, leading to dwindling sales for subcompacts, which weren’t that popular in the Land of the Free.
While Toyota USA has pledged to remain committed to passenger cars, it looks like not all nameplates are guaranteed a future in its lineup. The Yaris Liftback is one of them, as the automaker will stop offering it for the 2019 model year.
CarsDirect broke the news and Toyota confirmed it without providing a reason for axing the small hatch. However, as mentioned above, the lack of demand for subcompact cars is most likely the main motivation behind the decision.
It looks like this wasn’t an easy choice for Toyota, which had already issued ordering guides for the 2019 Yaris Liftback which is based on Europe-spec Yaris. The car was listed as “TBA” for months well after that. This is something unusual as carmakers typically don’t issue ordering guides for cars they don’t plan to build.
In the end, the 2019 Yaris Liftback will be no more, but consumers will still be able to purchase a Toyota Yaris: the sedan version, which will soldier on. Except that one isn’t actually a Toyota, but a rebadged Mazda2 sedan. Previously known as the Yaris iA, it has been renamed the Yaris for 2019 and has been priced $500 lower at $15,450 (excluding $930 destination).
Toyota will keep the sedan as it’s arguably a better car to drive than the hatchback, is priced slightly lower, and offers more features as standard. Not to mention that it probably has a supply contract with Mazda to honor.
Interestingly, after confirming the demise of the Yaris Liftback, Toyota spokeswoman Nancy Hubbell said the brand has something new in store for the 2020 model year. “We’re working on something new for MY2020 and look forward to seeing you at the New York Auto Show for more details,” the representative said.
Later on, another Toyota spokesperson confirmed the announcement was about the 2020 Yaris. It remains to be seen whether that’s related to the hatchback or the sedan.