Toyota's head of North American operations is considering discontinuing several under-performing...

Toyota's head of North American operations is considering discontinuing several under-performing car models, including the Yaris subcompact car (shown).

Photo courtesy of Toyota.

Toyota is taking a "hard look" at its U.S. lineup with an eye toward eliminating smaller cars that aren't performing well as buyers shift toward utility vehicles, the company's head of North American operations said Tuesday.

Toyota could discontinue the subcompact Yaris and sell fewer variants of its Prius hybrid. Toyota is no longer selling the Prius V and could phase out the Pirus C. The company could also scale back niche products such as sport coupes and convertibles, said Jim Lentz in a Wall Street Journal report.

Smaller cars such as the Yaris have seen limited demand outside of daily rental fleets.

Toyota's competitors have already begun streamlining their car lineups in the U.S. Ford is planning to eliminate virtually all cars, and General Motors will reduce its Chevrolet car lineup to three models. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has eliminated several Chrysler and Dodge cars.

Lentz said it would be a mistake for Toyota to pull completely out of the passenger-car business. Toyota plans to add 31 Toyota and Lexus models over the next three years, said Eric Booth, a Toyota spokesman.

"If, for example, a given product is not profitable or not meeting customer expectations, we will consider all options, including potentially eliminating a poor performing product," Booth said. "At the same time, we are continuing to invest in North America and future products are a key component of that investment."

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

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