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U.S.-spec Toyota Yaris living on borrowed time?

by Ronan Glon

Other slow-selling models could get axed, too.

Toyota recently announced it's ready to cut unprofitable models from its line-up. One of its top executives has shed insight into which models are on the chopping block and which ones are safe -- for now.

"Yaris doesn't do much in the U.S. I'm not sure, at least in the U.S., how important that segment is," Jim Lentz, the CEO of Toyota's North American arm, told Automotive News.

He also singled out the coupe segment. "Maybe you need one of those, but you don't need two or three," he pointed out. That means the future looks uncertain at best for slow-selling cars like the Yaris, the Prius C, and the 86. Automotive News adds the Lexus RC could get axed, too, though Lentz made no mention of Lexus models.

The move makes sense. Sales of the Yaris fell 78 percent through October. The Mazda-derived Yaris iA dropped 21 percent during the same period. 86 sales fell by 40 percent.

Camry and Corolla sedan sales fell, too, but both models are safe for the time being. They remain the core of the Toyota brand. The firm will reveal a brand-new Corolla at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show.

The cost-cutting strategy Lentz outlined falls in line with the path executives in Japan are taking. Koji Kobayashi, Toyota's chief financial officer, explained the company is even looking to slash costs in the office supply department.

"We might not need to buy new pencils or stationery for another five years," he said.