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Scion trying to build business case for FR-S convertible as Subaru bows out

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 09:16:00 EST

Hope may remain for a convertible version of the Scion FR-S, according to a report from Ward's Auto. You'll recall that rumors were swirling about the feasibility of a rear-drive Toyobaru convertible as early as October, and that back in November, Subaru – which makes the FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 – essentially nixed the idea of an open-topped variant.

"We make the car, so if we don't make it, it can't happen," brand chief Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told Automotive News, according to Ward's, at the Tokyo Motor Show. "Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change."

Despite Yoshinaga-san's arguments against a droptop variant, Toyota is apparently still considering the model. Speaking to media at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, Scion's US vice president, Doug Murtha, hinted that the rear-drive droptop was in the works.

"It's something we're looking at internally from both a manufacturing standpoint - where do we build something that's relatively low-volume, if not at Subaru - and from an engineering standpoint: Where are those resources going to come from to do it?" Murtha said.

For now, it appears as if Toyota is merely doing its homework on the feasibility of a production version of the FT-86 Open Concept from the 2013 Geneva and Tokyo shows (show above). "Everybody's had to pony up their volumes and we'll see if we can make it happen," Murtha told Wards.

Whether the volumes check out or not, the question of how Toyota will get around the engineering issues - making a convertible safe - and figuring out where to build it, mean that while our hopes for an FR-S Convertible are higher, the car still faces a rather rocky road before reaching production.

By Brandon Turkus

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