Scared by poor FR-S sales, Chevrolet axes its small rear-wheel drive coupe

Many assumed the sleek Code 130R concept (pictured) that Chevrolet presented at the 2012 edition of the Detroit Motor Show accurately previewed a small, enthusiast-focused rear-wheel drive coupe positioned below the Camaro. The assumption was beyond reasonable because the Code 130R looked relatively close to production and it filled a wide gap in the Bowtie’s lineup.

Over three years after the concept made its debut, Chevrolet has confirmed once and for all that it will not take on the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins with a budget 2 Series, at least not in the near future. Mark Reuss, General Motors’ product chief, revealed that he would love to see a baby Camaro but the numbers simply don’t add up.

“Capital is not a black hole,” explained Reuss in an interview with trade journal Automotive News. “On those cars, the price point begins to approach the segment of the next car up. We would spend a lot of money and resources, and what are we really doing?”

It’s hard to blame the executive. Scion sold 3,471 examples of the FR-S last month, a statistic that represents a 29-percent drop since the beginning of the year. The BRZ fared even worse and Subaru managed to move just 494 examples last month, a 39-percent drop compared to April of last year. The only small, relatively inexpensive rear-wheel drive sports car that has consistently sold well in the United States is the Mazda Miata.

Although enthusiasts shouldn’t hold out hope for a sub-Camaro rear-wheel drive coupe, Reuss pointed out that Chevrolet “knows how to do them really well” and he predicted the automaker will likely have to reconsider the matter sooner or later. However, for the time being, Chevrolet’s most affordable coupe is the base-model Camaro, which is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 275 horsepower.

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