An increasingly SUV world: the disappearance of popular coupes and sports cars

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The automotive scenario of European cities is increasingly homogeneous. SUVs of all shapes and sizes now account for more than half of the new cars sold and are preparing to reach the same share in the fleet. An expansion that took place to the detriment of any type of bodywork; however there is one that has undergone this advance more than the others. Popular coupes and sports cars have practically disappeared. The Toyota GR86 we tested a short time ago is the latest representative of a virtually extinct breed. Until a few years ago this was not the case, there were the Peugeot RCZ, the Renault Laguna Coupé and the Volkswagen Scirocco, but also sports models derived from sedans such as the Opel Astra GTC, the Renault Megane Coupé and the Seat Leon ST. Today they have all disappeared. And if you rewind the tape of time again you risk becoming nostalgic.


In the 1990s, almost every car manufacturer had its own sports car: Alfa Romeo GTV, Audi Coupé, Fiat Coupé, Ford Cougar, Nissan 200SX, Opel Calibra, Peugeot 406 Coupé, Rover 220 Turbo, Toyota Celica, Volkswagen Corrado and Volvo 480. All cars that in their life cycle (7-8) years sold between 50,000 and 100,000 units throughout Europe, except the Calibra which had an overwhelming success and reached almost 240,000.


What happened next is not easy to explain: on the one hand, manufacturers have become increasingly attentive to the relationship between costs and profits, also because cars have gradually but inexorably become more expensive to produce, amid increasingly severe homologations and digital technologies. gradually more complex. On the other hand, the desires of motorists have changed: SUV shapes have become so fashionable that they have also been applied to city cars and the high seat has become a kind of mantra to be repeated endlessly without even remembering why.


But with all these premises, why does Toyota still produce a sports coupe for everyone? Meanwhile, he shared the research, development and design efforts with another manufacturer: when the GT86 came out in 2012 – from which the GR86 is derived – the Subaru BRZ also arrived on the market. Two twin sisters that differed only in the shape of the front bumper. And Toyota is the world’s largest carmaker, and most of the GR86s that leave the Gunma plant are either shipped to the United States or remain in Japan, two areas where cars of this type are still very popular. A small part of the production, on the other hand, goes to Europe where the main markets absorb a few hundred a year.

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