One of our fans, Mike, wrote in to tell us their story about buying their first car, a Scion FR-S.
Mike was watching ESPN on a typical Saturday morning when a new Toyota commercial came on. It was some sports car riding through the hills of some mountain, ripping around turns while the engine whined. It sounded amazing. As the car rounded the corner on the final turn, the words FR-S came across the screen along with the message “visit your local Toyota Dealer for more information”.
That’s exactly what he did. Mike drove over to the Toyota dealership (company that owns the now extinct Scion brand) and spoke with a rep. They offered a test drive of their automatic, Black (Raven), FR-S. He drove the car of the lot and drove the speed limit around town.
According to dealership rules, the rep had to be in the passenger seat. Mike couldn’t take the car out on its own and then bring it back after. He drove carefully because the rep was present. The rep told him to take a turn, which brought them onto a set of back roads. The speed limit was between 30 to 40 depending on the road and it had plenty of twists and turns. Mike continued going the speed limit, until finally, the rep said he could do otherwise. He stated, “This is a test drive. Test the car. Sport mode is that button. We’ve got dealer plates, so cops won’t be an issue.”
Mike took that message as a green light and pressed the petal to the floor. 30-40-50-60, this car was a rocket ship. He ripped through the turns on the back road accelerating as he continued down the stretch. The rep’s face went from straight to panicked in a matter of seconds. Cruising past the fields on the right side, Mike was pushing 70 heading into another set of turns. He tore through the turns while the tires squealed and continued toward the straight away back to the main road. He drove like a normal person, speeding about 7 over until reaching the dealership.
After dropping off the car, he went to test out the Nissan 350Z and the Hyundai Genesis Turbo 3.5L. The 350Z was heavy and not very nimble for its size. The Genesis was nice and sounded great, but the price was ridiculous for that car. Two quick tests drives and about an hour later, he marched right back into the dealership to buy the Scion FR-S. Today, this car is called the GT-86, originally its European name. Scion brand has been removed and everything is under the main Toyota name now.
Apparently sales were terrible because Toyota anticipated young people buying the FR-S and older people buying the near-replica BRZ that Subaru makes. However, what really happened is young people bought the BRZ and no one bought the FR-S. Toyota lost a ton of money. Mike’s happy though because the car literally only existed for two years before Toyota rebranded it as the GT-86. It’s quick, nimble, corners like a Porsche, and doesn’t cost much to maintain. On top of that, it gets nearly 30 miles a gallon for gas. There really is no downside.