We’ve known for a while Toyota doesn’t plan to bring its supercharged Yaris stateside, but now, we can’t understand why.
Toyota and Rockstar Energy recently revealed, for the 2017 Formula Drift season, Fredric Aasbo will field a Corolla iM drift car. The decision to use the five-door hatch as the basis for Aasbo’s 2017 car suggests Toyota isn’t bringing the Yaris GRMN to the U.S. because it doesn’t want to, not because it won’t sell.
The point of using any car as the foundation for a racer is to market it to a given audience. However, if Toyota wanted to make one of its hatches, why did it choose the iM, which isn’t really sporty enough to appeal to Formula D’s fan base? The series would have been a great way for it to showcase the hot Yaris in front of a youthful audience.
Yes, we understand Toyota essentially is making the new Yaris to highlight its return to the FIA World Rally Championship, and entering it in a drift series wouldn’t necessarily do that. But since WRC isn’t extremely popular in the U.S., Toyota could have used Formula D as one part of an unrelated marketing campaign for the Yaris GRMN.
It also easily could have appealed to American rally fans by entering Red Bull Global Rallycross or Rally America.
Considering Toyota could have turned the rear-wheel-drive 86 into a drift car instead of the Corolla iM, it clearly thinks it can sell hatchbacks to younger race fans. We just can’t understand why it wouldn’t try to sell them the hatchback they’d be more inclined to buy.
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