Posts Tagged ‘Scion IQ’

Scion Aims to Regain Youthful Allure

Flood of new products promised.

by on Jan.23, 2015

The Scion tC Release Series 9.

Scion is turning to an old idea in its bid for young drivers, giving its tC Coupe a two-tone paint job based on a popular custom car show concept.

Originally aimed at youthful “influencers” who would draw buyers into showrooms for parent Toyota’s products, Scion has lost a lot of its early momentum in recent years, recent models like the micro-sized iQ and second-generation xB falling flat in the marketplace. Despite speculation Toyota might give up on the Scion brand-within-a-brand, the Japanese maker has no intention of pulling the plug and is, instead, promising to roll out an assortment of edgy new models that it hopes will recapture Scion’s original energy.

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“We’re committed to Scion,” declared Bob Carter, head of Toyota’s U.S. auto operations, during a speech at an industry confab in San Francisco this week. The sub-brand remains “a test bed for Millennials,” and a significant part of Toyota’s broader strategy.

It sees Scion as a critical bridge to help it gain new buyers for the Toyota brand which has long been dependent on now-aging Baby Boomers.


Shake-Up at Scion

Toyota’s youth brand making major changes to product line-up.

by on Jul.29, 2014

Soon to be gone? The Scion xB.

Scion has always tried to think out of the box, and now it likely will abandon its boxy xB model as part of a product line shake-up designed to reinvigorate Toyota Motor Co.’s youth-oriented brand.

The xB is one of several models that reportedly will go away, according to various reports, while the Japanese brand will get several new models, including a version of the Auris hatchback sold in Europe and other parts of the world under the Toyota badge.

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Gone is the strategy of limiting Scion to just a handful of products designed to bring first-time buyers into showrooms, the brand’s top executive recently confirmed to

Scion could use the shake-up. Only a few years back considered among the hottest brands in the market, Scion has lost significant momentum in recent years and was one of only a handful of brands to see sales slide during the first half of 2014.


Toyota Adds 2nd Battery-Electric Vehicle

But Scion iQ EV will skip retail, target car-sharing programs.

by on Oct.17, 2012

Toyota has modest plans for its small battery-car.

Toyota is adding a second battery-electric vehicle to its U.S. line-up, a lithium-ion-powered version of its Scion iQ microcar. But plans for the new green machine underscore the Japanese giant’s continued skepticism about the near to mid-term potential of battery-electric propulsion.

As with the Toyota RAV4-EV introduced earlier this year, the Scion iQ will be produced in relatively low numbers – and it will be targeted at campus and urban car-sharing programs rather than being sold directly to consumers, the maker reveals.

Just 90 of the electric microcars will be delivered to the U.S. initially. Toyota plans to reveal further details of who will get the iQ, and where, in the coming weeks.

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“Toyota believes battery-electric vehicles have the potential to play a role in future mobility strategies,” says Chris Hostetter, TMS group vice president of strategic planning. “Up to now, cost and convenience issues have limited BEV’s appeal with a broad consumer market. Toyota developed the iQ EV specifically as a city commuter, for use in an urban environment, where driving distances are likely to be short, charging opportunities numerous, and its compact proportions beneficial.”


Little 2012 Scion iQ: Small Enough to Make a Big Impression

Tiny microcar is a novelty, but does it make sense to buy?

by on Jul.26, 2012

Scion's little iQ is great for bopping around city centers in areas such as the Wayne State University campus in Detroit.

A thought came to mind while coming back from a meeting in downtown Detroit: At least this Scion iQ is better than a Smart ForTwo.

Admittedly, it’s a low bar. In a way, it’s unfair to review these little midget cars on our wide-open American roads. But if the automakers continue pitching them, we’ll keep reviewing ‘em.

At a tick over 120 inches, iQ is actually 14.5 inches longer than the Smart. With that extra length, Scion gave the iQ a tiny back seat, allowing it to claim that the iQ is the world’s smallest four-seater. Eh, OK, sure there four seats in there with four seatbelts, but, fit four actual people back there? Well, more on that later.

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We spent a little time running around the Wayne State University campus in the iQ. This would seem to be the perfect habitat for a micro like the iQ. It was nice being able to spin the steering wheel for a quick u-turn – the iQ would seem to have the turning radius of a zero-radius turn lawnmower – and the little car will fit in virtually anything resembling a parking spot.

With their crowded city centers, micros like the iQ make sense in Japan and Europe. But in America, the cities are generally separated by wide expanses of green and connected by smooth ribbons of asphalt. That’s a habitat where the iQ does not excel.


Scion in Transition

To stay true to its past Scion needs to rethink its future. Is China part of that?

by on May.09, 2012

Scion boss Jack Hollis reveals the original FRS-86 Concept -- now the new Scion FR-S.

Think of it as the Peter Pan brand, forever young.  And that’s just the way Scion intends to stay despite recent rumors suggesting Toyota’s youth-oriented brand will shift its focus.

But don’t think there aren’t some big changes in the works, suggested Jack Hollis, the general manager of the Scion division.  Quite the contrary.  For one thing, the brand will be expanding its line-up.  And some familiar nameplates will soon be going away – with some radically new alternatives taking the place of familiar offerings like the boxy xB.

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Meanwhile, Scion’s success hasn’t been ignored by other regions of the far-flung Toyota empire.  And so, while conceived specifically as a U.S. brand Scion very well could expand into other markets from China to the Middle East, officials told in an exclusive interview.

“Scion will need to change and evolve because the younger generation is changing quickly,” said Hollis, stressing that the Millennial market is feeling the impact of not only the recession but economic changes likely to reach years into the future.


Scion Says Bye-Bye Box

Maker to drop both xB and xD models.

by on Apr.24, 2012

Not everything that glitters is gold, Scion discovered when it redesigned the boxy xB in 2008.

When is a minivan not a minivan?  When it is a cool box-on-wheels like the Scion xB.  Or, at least, it was when the maker introduced the original, squared off hatchback nearly a decade ago – spawning a whole host of imitations.  But a second-generation update left buyers cold, sending sales plunging – and now, it appears, Scion is about to say “bye-bye” to the box.

The maker also is planning to kill off the only slightly less boxy xD model which joined the Scion line-up late in 2007 to deafening disinterest, or so goes a new report in trade publication Ward’s.

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The two models will almost certainly won’t be replaced.  But that’s no surprise.  Scion officials have long stressed that products will come and go from the line-up as the Toyota sub-brand experiments with potential new concepts.

The Japanese maker initially billed Scion as its “youth division,” and while it hasn’t been doing all that well on the sales charts lately it has been able to attract younger, hipper buyers than traditional Toyota offerings like the Corolla and Camry.


Is the American Market Ready for City Cars?

Testing the appeal of the Fiat 500.

by on Oct.25, 2011

The new Fiat 500 is testing the U.S. market for so-called A-sized microcars.

The Fiat 500, returning to the American market after a long absence, and under the guardianship of Chrysler LLC, is cute, fun to drive and well-executed.

But are American motorists ready yet for an “A-sized” vehicle?

That’s the big question for Fiat, Chrysler, the know-it-alls Inside the Beltway—and ultimately all the competitors in the U.S. market.  Usually known as a City Car or by some, Urban Car, these tiny vehicles are defined by their short wheelbases—73.5 to 90.6 inches– and overall lengths between 106.1 and 139.6 inches.

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At the moment the Fiat 500 is the largest of the City Car competitors in the U.S. market, the smallest being the Daimler Benz Smartfortwo and the just announced Toyota Scion iQ, in between in size. Still more are on the way, with Chevrolet getting ready to launch its new Spark, the smallest car it has ever offered.


Honda Warns of Shortages of New Civic

Maker also delaying launch of new CR-V.

by on May.02, 2011

The Japanese parts shortage will mean shortages of the new Honda Civic - and a number of other models.

Honda has warned its U.S. dealers that it will be further cutting production due to the ongoing shortage of Japanese-made parts – which will likely result in a shortage of many products including the all-new Civic compact, which is just in the midst of what was supposed to be a high-profile launch.

The shortages will also force Honda to delay by at least a month the planned autumn launch of the updated 2012 CR-V crossover vehicle.

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Honda is not the only maker feeling the pinch, however.  Toyota, in particular, expects significant product shortages in the months ahead, and has delayed several key launches.  Meanwhile, even Detroit makers are preparing for production delays, Chrysler today warning it could see its original 2011 production plans reduced by as much as 100,000 vehicles.

“Our goal remains to normalize overall production sometime around the end of the year,” John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda, told U.S. dealers in a written memo.


Scion Indefinitely Delaying iQ Minicar Launch

Toyota division blames parts shortages.

by on Apr.21, 2011

The Scion iQ, first shown at the 2010 NY Auto Show, has been delayed due to the ongoing Japanese parts shortages.

Scion has put an indefinite hold on plans to launch the new iQ minicar, putting the blame on the ongoing shortage of Japanese-made parts.

The iQ, sold in Europe under the Toyota brand, will be one of the smallest products on U.S. roads once it finally reaches production.  The Scion brand had hoped it would be able to take advantage of mounting concerns about rising fuel prices – but the launch was caught up by another major event that has shaken the global auto industry.

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Toyota’s home market plants lost a full month of production – equivalent to more than 250,000 vehicles — after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and the subsequent nuclear crisis.  Meanwhile, with a number of key suppliers still out of action, the maker and its various divisions have only been able to resume production in Japan at half speed.  And until June 3rd, North American plants will operate at barely a third of their capacity.

So, acknowledged Scion General Manager Jack Hollis, “The iQ launch will be later than we originally planned.”


Opinion: 2011 Could Bring In A Dramatic Shift In Driver Behavior

Rising fuel prices, tough rules, alternative offerings all could bring big changes.

by on Dec.30, 2010

How small is too small? American buyers will downsize -- but how far?

The numbers at the pump down at Sunny’s Sunoco are spinning fast, these days.  And getting faster all the time.  He’s pumping regular at $3.19 a gallon, this morning, a big jump from just two weeks ago, but likely nothing compared to what we’ll see in the months to come.

Curiously, I hear a lot less complaining about fuel prices than I did in 2008, the last time we saw that rapid upward spiral.  Perhaps panic will set in again if we start nudging $4 a gallon, but it just seems like most Americans have come to expect that number as an eventual reality.  But it’s more than a matter of grin-and-bear-it.

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Buyers are fighting back in their own ways.  By driving fewer miles, according to government data, and by switching to more fuel efficient vehicles.  Some are even considering vehicles that don’t few fuel at all, at least not in the liquid sense.  And if fuel prices really do soar to new records in 2011, the pace of change could outstrip even the most optimistic forecasts –though don’t expect American roadways to start looking like those in Europe and Japan.