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Toyota Could Cut Niche Models From Its Lineup

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Don't be surprised if the Lexus RC and Toyota 86 get axed.

Toyota has one of the widest lineups of any mainstream automaker in the North American market. And that's helped it maintain its position as one of the largest manufacturers in the industry. But it could trim its model line and cut nameplates that aren't selling as well as others. And that doesn't bode well for some of its more niche models.

"We are taking a hard look at all of the segments that we compete in to make sure we are competing in profitable segments and that products we sell have strategic value," said Toyota's US chief Jim Lentz, reports Automotive News.

Last month, Toyota sold 168,386 cars and trucks in the US, and another 22,716 under the Lexus brand. But some models naturally accounted for a larger proportion of overall sales than others. While it sold nearly 27,000 examples of the Camry here in October, for example, it didn't move one tenth as many Avalon sedans – and half that many again of the Yaris.

The numbers look particularly bleak for the aging 86, of which it sold just 335 last month. And with the new Supra soon to arrive, we could easily see the smaller sports car being eighty-sixed.

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The same goes for the Lexus RC, which sold just 211 units last month, and has been superseded by the higher-end LC – which sold in fewer numbers, but serves as a halo model for the brand.

Also potentially on the chopping block could be the Sequoia and Land Cruiser, of which Toyota sold just 892 and 363 examples last month (plus another 377 Lexus LXs) – as compared to 34,000 RAV4s and 20,000 Highlanders. The numbers don't paint a particularly vibrant picture of the Mirai, either, but as an environmental/technological showpiece, Toyota may opt to keep it around.