California Autos Examiner

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Scion future cars and product plans: What is ahead for the brand?

Scion gets ready to raise its iQ (source: toyota)

Scion started out in the States like a bat out of hell. It had unique, funky products and an unusual mono-spec model arrangement that allowed customers to customize their rides at the dealership (at a tremendous profit for the retailer of course).

View a gallery of Scions in this slideshow.

Since Scion's launch, its numbers have stumbled. So what happened to Toyota's youth brand? Firstly, I blame the flabby second generation xB. When Scion started off, its leaders crowed that there would never be any repeats and that the brand would continue to redefine itself. Well, that didn't exactly happen with the xB, did it? If anything, the second generation xB became a joke, a taut design that had eaten too many chips and sucked down a lot of soda. The xB should have become the Hako Coupe or at least the Toyota bB.

The Scion tC coupe was a great entry when it arrived, the problem is, it just kind of hung around the dealership and has grown stale as time has marched on.

The scruffy Scion xD is actually my favorite current model. The xD has some personality in its looks and was a nice upgrade over the xA.

Enough about the present, what is Scion going to turn around its fortunes?

For one, Scion is going to take on the smart fortwo with the iQ. This has not been made official, but it is all but assured that the iQ will be a 2011 Scion model. The small iQ has several advantages over the smart, firstly it has a transmission that is more suited to Americans who have been caught off guard by the fortwo's semi-automated unit. The iQ will also benefit from an extensive dealer network and Toyota's reputation for quality. The iQ can also cart along 3 adults and one child, thanks to its efficient use of space, that bests the smart by 1.5 passengers. The downsides are that the smart does offer a convertible and interchangeable plastic panels which make for chic styling options.

The tC finally gets its due for the 2011 model year as a replacement arrives. Some speculation had it that the tC could go RWD and might be the Toyobaru sports car discussed below. However, it is my belief that the tC will stay FWD while the Toyobaru is added as a complimentary model later on. Either way the next tC will hopefully make a styling statement.

The xB will likely see limited edition models, but little else in the way of changes. The same goes for the xD as well.

In the way of other projects, the Scion could get the joint Toyota/Subaru sports car or a version of the Toyota A-BAT pickup concept.

Source: Information for this report comes from previous reports by this author and information from Automotive News.
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