Supra sales are down almost 50% in the US market, going from 4,951 in 2022… to just 2,652 in 2023. And that’s WITH the addition of the much anticipated manual transmission. So what’s the problem here?

supra sales

There’s the common criticism that the modern Supra is a BMW underneath…

And that’s valid. We can also blame cost & off-putting dealer markups. All valid. We can even blame high interest rates & an uncertain economy. But I think beyond that, at the root of a bigger problem, social media is widening the gap between hype & actual reality. It’s probably fair to say that half the new Supra owners in the US bought the car for ‘branding or marketing’. Therefore reality comes 2nd to that Supra badge & its valuable hashtag. Real world buyers, on the other hand, often have to weigh real world options. They have to weigh the considerable cost, on what is likely a 2nd, 3rd, (or 4th) family car loan. Is the Supra worth it? Wade through all the hype & fanaticism, and modern Supra is impressive… but it’s also a claustrophobic car that honestly doesn’t have much feeling. And what you do feel… feels like a modern BMW. 

supra manual transmission

I may be totally wrong here…

But I think there’s an army of car enthusiasts who are pining for a more affordable, more analogue, more authentically true sports car that pulls on the heartstrings more. We’re happy to give up digital performance for a more soulful & enduring connection. Point blank – Japanese sports cars of the 80s & 90s had more essence. They hit on a different level. For instance, there’s a difference between pop-up headlights, and automatic headlights. And there’s a big damn difference between a targa top, and narrow windows that baffle atrociously when you roll the windows down.

GR Supra

Again, I may be wrong here…

But I’d encourage carmakers to focus less on the statistical, point-&-shoot performance, and more on the emotional connection that makes people fall in love with sports cars. Today (a quarter through the 21st century), we don’t need to take a sports car as far as technology can take it. What we need – is to learn how to back off that limit… and refocus more of that energy on the human element. Ok fine I’ll say it… the vibe. You cannot have a pure sports car, without the soul. A fast car?? Sure. But that’s not the same thing. And I truly believe that out of all the modern car manufacturers… none of them understand this more than Toyota. 

manual supra

•check out the free S3 Magazine app•  (apple)

•check out the free S3 Magazine app•  (android)

lug nuts