Toyota will also stop MR2 production after 2005 model yearby Brian Chee
The Celica, the sporty two-door that served as Toyota’s “youth” vehicle for more than 30 years, will be discontinued after the 2005 model year. Introduced in 1971, the Celica was influential in establishing the sporty subcompact segment. During its time, it was named Motor Trend's "Import Car of the Year," one of Car and Driver's "Ten Best Cars," and the "Most Reliable Sporty Car" by Consumer Reports. Considered an edgy and youth-oriented vehicle when it debuted, the Celica largely stayed true to its purpose of being designed for consumers who wanted something “younger” than regular transportation – drivers who wanted a little flair in the look of a car and a little spirit attached to the accelerator.
The two-seat MR2 is also scheduled to be discontinued at the end of the 2005 model year. According to Don Esmond, senior vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division, the past few years had been very challenging for both Celica and MR2 in a segment where Toyota continued to add other, more exciting and youthful products to the lineup, such as the Matrix and Corolla XRS, Solara sports coupe and recently the Scion xA, xB and tC. Sales for the Celica reflected its declining fortunes, slumping almost 50 percent compared to last year. Year to date, the Celica had dropped more than 33 percent off its 2003 pace.