By on May 30, 2011

A lengthy Automotive News [sub] story on Scion concludes with Scion VP Jack Hollis restating the brand’s basic myth:

Scion was not created for Scion’s sake. Scion was created for Toyota’s sake. It is an investment in Toyota’s collective future.

Hollis’s argument is bolstered by the scenario in which a youngster is attracted to a Scion store by the brand’s youth-oriented marketing, only to leave in a Corolla. Hollis argues that this model means Scion doesn’t have to worry about its sales volume… which is a good thing, considering the brand’s steady sales decline over the past four years. Hollis explains:

We still don’t go with a set [volume] number. Scion wants to be more influential. We want to talk to more people. We’re getting the right people, so the real question is: How do we get more of them?

I don’t know about you, but creating a brand to be “influential” and to “talk to more people” sounds like some vintage, dry-aged, old-school GM branding nonsense. And given that Scion’s sales decline coincided with the rollout of less-distinctive, more Toyota-like products, Scion’s apparent comfort with its recent declines smack of Old GM-style apathy as well (Scion execs respond with the old “but we gave customers what they wanted” chestnut). But don’t worry… Scion has a plan!

How is Scion adapting? According to AN [sub]:

Responding to its multiyear sales slump, Scion is adding two all-new vehicles, including a sporty, $20,000-plus coupe… Scion also is making its retail sales approach a little less laid-back. And Toyota may build Scions in the United States to negate the currency disadvantage hitting its current Japan-built lineup.

Those two new products are the FR-S (FT-86/Toyobaru) sports coupe, which will expand the Scion brand into a performance-oriented niche it has never played in before, and the Scion iQ, a European-style premium city car. Neither will offer the low-cost, high-value positioning that defined Scion’s relatively successful first generation of products, although the iQ does seem to be the relatively better fit for the brand, offering high efficiency and urban utility in a tiny package. The FR-S, in particular, will be priced out of Scion’s traditional entry-level market, and will offer a level of performance and enthusiast-orientation that has never been a key part of the brand. Meanwhile, does that sales chart at the top of this story indicate that Scion should be expanded upmarket, or return to its roots?

But Scion is returning to its roots… in its least-compelling venue, namely marketing. Though niche-oriented marketing has been the one constant amid Scion’s fluctuating product mix and positioning, it’s largely been overly niche-oriented to the point of self-parody. Not that deviants don’t need cars too, but the real fuel economy and practicality value propositions offered by Scion’s first generation (in particular) often attracted a much-older consumer, creating a strange disconnect between Scion’s image and its reality. But don’t look for any of that to change, as Scion is doubling down on its too-cool-for-school positioning.

It is expanding its underground cultural reach into areas such as the “death metal” music scene. The rise of social media means Scion is loosening up the way it talks with Gen Y.

This gets back to the central myth of the Scion brand that Hollis points to, namely that
Toyota has always viewed Scion as more of a mad-scientist laboratory than a profit center. It was intended to attract young buyers to the Toyota family in a way that mainstream Toyota compact cars never could.
To understand how deeply self-deluded this perspective is, one must only look at the collapse of Scion’s sales and compare them to the competition’s movement towards offering ever-more-Scion-like products as part of their mainstream brands. From the Mazda2 to the Hyundai Veloster, from the Ford Fiesta to the Kia Soul, mainstream brands are adding fresh, funky, fuel-efficient cars to their lineups which are eating Scion’s lunch in sales, while directly refuting Toyota’s absurd perception that younger buyers will avoid cars aimed at them if they’re presented as part of a mainstream brand. After all, the Hyundai brand is expanding down into Scion territory with its Accent and Veloster, while simultaneously moving up into the luxury segment with its Genesis and Equus models.
Perhaps then, Toyota over-emphasized the importance of unique, youth-oriented brands. But, more tragically, Toyota also did its own mainstream brand a huge disservice by splitting off a youth brand, thereby signaling that Toyotas were, in fact, boring, utilitarian, unexciting vehicles. Why weaken a mainstream (and therefore, inherently flexible) brand in order to create a mediocre, over-marketed, under-delivering brand (according to a mystery shopper survey, Scion’s sales practices are third-worst in the industry, while Toyota ranks at about the industry average)? The sooner Toyota sees the light and pulls the plug on its failed Scion experiment, or at least return it to its original vision, the better.
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40 Comments on “Facing Downturn, Scion Turns To Metal To Move Metal...”


  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    “Toyota over-emphasized the importance of unique, youth-oriented brands”

    They sure did.

    Youth have no money for new cars, so marketing to them is foolish.

    The correct strategy is to market to their parents, who’ll be footing the bill, anyway.

    For that, you don’t need a new brand, just a safe, functional product that’s easy to drive and light on the wallet.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My local dealer has a separate building for Scion, but when I bought my new 05 xB1, they had to ‘borrow’ a Toyota salesman from the Toyota building a hundred yards away just to discuss the Scion product – they didn’t even staff the Scion building with a salesman. In a story I’ve shared here before, I ended up buying froma dealer 2 hours away.

    The xB2 is a bust, and their justification of such moves are smoke and mirrors.

    I still have the old xB, and it’s a great and reliable car, but my next vehicle will not be a Scion. They just don’t have anything compelling for me today.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The important thing to understand about Scion is fourfold:
      * One, it originally existed to shift kei(ish) cars in North America, partly to rationalize production elsewhere.
      * Two, the reason Scions have changed had everything to do with surveying the market.
      * Three, Toyota is an almost full-line marque
      * Four, the distribution model was supposed to be a (cheap) one-time fixed cost.

      Point one means that, whatever Scion sells, it pretty much has to be something from their overseas lineup and it has to be cheap and Federalize-able. This presents interesting problems because it excludes a lot of kei(ish) cars that are cheap, but would cost a fortune to bring over.

      Two is where the real problem is: Toyota used the same formula that worked so very well with the Camry, Corolla, Sienna and such—continuous improvement based on feedback—and applied it to Scion. Of course, xB owners probably wanted a better ride while xA owners wanted a bit more space, and both wanted more power.

      Combine one and two and you’ll see why they chose the cars they did: they hit all the checkboxes: they use the easy-Federalized Yaris and Corolla platforms, they’re made in Japan, they’re cheap and the address the focus groups. The problem is that no one at Toyota seemed to ask why

      Now we get into point #3: Toyota already makes a bunch of cars already. The reason the Scion xB can work is because the RAV/4 grew a third row and is too big for the class, while the Matrix looks too car-like for SUVized American taste. Ditto the xD, which is pretty much a Yaris Crossover, designed to sell to people who wouldn’t buy the Yaris. Whatever Scion made, it couldn’t stomp on an existing Toyota, and some holes had just opened up.

      Fourth is kind of token: this was supposed to be cheap to do. Pulling the plug would effectively make it cost more, so Toyota is bound to keep trying.

      It’s a very similar strategy to the one that created Lexus, except that in creating Lexus, Toyota answered the question that people were asking. With the second cut at Scion, Toyota rationalized decisions, but didn’t ask if people wanted to buy the product. The xB is a decent enough car, and it’s not precisely a Matrix or a RAV, but the Matrix and RAV are good enough anyway. Ditto the xD: what’s the point of it between the Yaris and Matrix. Never mind that the Soul, and any number of used cars) and such are cheaper still

      There’s a reason the tC sells well enough, and it’s because it’s still unique (sorta) and has buyers (people who want a sporty car, but don’t want to put up with the compromises a Mustang or Camaro asks). The tC (and, soon, the FT’s) problem is that this is not a big market to start with.

      Scion isn’t a bad idea, but the product needs to be a little edgier (which is hard for Toyota; it means going against a methodology that has worked in spades) and a lot cheaper. The problem is that, unlike Lexus, you don’t really need a separate brand to do this. It could help, but you’d have to think a lot more outside the box than Toyota is with the Scion channel: direct sales, internet sales, resellers. Ask Chrysler how that’s going.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        The tC is not selling “well enough,” nor selling at Toyota’s targeted goals. 1,000 to 1,500 units a month doesn’t justify the existence of a sub-$20,000 car when you consider R&D, SG&A, and other operational costs to support the nameplate. If the tC was selling at 3K units a month I’d call it selling, “well enough.”

        The “compromises” you call out on the Camaro (big, cave like interior, interior plastics that are at least of fair quality but have the charm of a plastic cooler) but “compromise” on the Mustang?!?!

        What compromise are you eluding too???

        Ya, I know, you can buy a base Scion for $18,000 with a manual and you do have a good car for that price. Then you can spend another $5K to $10K to make it “right” with suspension, brake, rim, engine, differential, and exhaust modifications. Of which come time to sell/trade you will get exactly zero dollars credit for; even for authorized TRD additions.

        Or you could buy a lightly equipped Mustang V6, get better MPG, and run circles around the Scion. I’m not seeing the “compromise.”

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Or you could buy a lightly equipped Mustang V6, get better MPG, and run circles around the Scion. I’m not seeing the “compromise.”

        The Mustang, and especially the Camaro (and probably the FT-86), get worse city mileage, are bigger, more difficult to drive, get much worse city and suburban mileage and have barely noticeable back seat space. I seriously question the mileage advantage the Mustang has anywhere save 90km/h cruise.

        The Scion, meanwhile, is a better “chick’s sports car” than either, and, as we know, chick cars can sell very well, thank you very much. That it’s a riff on a commodity platform only helps more.

        It would make more sense as a Toyota, mind you.

      • 0 avatar
        Norma

        Which of the original two/three is a ‘kei(ish)’ car, may I ask?

      • 0 avatar
        Steve B

        Agree – nothing Kei’ish about an xA or xB. A kei car is smaller than an A-segment… the xA and xB were both B-segment based, and the xB in particular used it’s body shape to border on C-segment accomodations.

        Also… 2664 tC’s sold in May.

        Also, re: Mustang compromises – Tiny back seat, smaller interior (83 cubic feet is slightly less than Geo Metro space), thirstier engine, higher price. Not that I dislike the Mustang at all… I crosshopped the Mustang, and liked the RWD and that magnificent balance of economy and power Ford tucked under the hood… but, once I slid the seat back all the way for my long legs, there was no rear passenger space at all, something I need (divorced dad, so my vehicle has to be able to fit my kiddos in the back when they visit).

        All cars are compromises though… We all have a different balance of wants, needs, and the means/willingness to pay for them. For me, the tC hit a sweet spot of practicality, enjoyable driving, plenty of legroom, features I wanted (Gripe: You can’t get a power moonroof in a Mustang, at least no way that I could find other than the aftermarket), and two door bodystyle.

        I make significantly less than $100,000/year… I’m not going to buy a
        new car for more than $20,000. Plus, I have a motorcycle for fun.

        For someone who never uses the back seat, the Mustang would probably come out on top.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you look at Cube? What do you think?

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        I looked at the Cube and Soul before I bought my (used) xB1. The Cube tries WAY too hard to be cute, or cool, or something. The Soul is the closer of the two in mimicking the xB1.

        For several thousand less than the Soul or Cube, I found a 22k mile, ’05 xB1. It just made more sense.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        Souls are too new of a model (released in 2010) to have the used car market yet to get some bargains. However, the 2012 Soul’s are being refreshed and come with updated engines – both with direct injection and 6 speed manual or automatics (1.6 liter and 2.0 liter).

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Great story that really nails the horrific mis-steps of Toyota marketing.

    …I don’t know about you, but creating a brand to be “influential” and to “talk to more people” sounds like some vintage, dry-aged, old-school GM branding nonsense. And given that Scion’s sales decline coincided with the rollout of less-distinctive, more Toyota-like products, Scion’s apparent comfort with its recent declines smack of Old GM-style apathy as well (Scion execs respond with the old “but we gave customers what they wanted” chestnut)…

    Bingo.

    If Toyota marketing had the slightest clue, the FT-86 would wear a lazy T Toyota logo and would be known as Celica to its buyers. If Toyota product marketing would drop the arrogance, they would see that other attempts to bring cars like the iQ to the United States have been a failure for the last 50 plus years. They’d also see they are flying into a huge head wind with competition like the Fiat 500; which has an extra seat, and amazingly the Fix It Again Tony reputation was more than a generation ago and largely forgotten – Fiat has more brand cachet than Scion ever will.

    Dead brand walking, failed experiment. Toyota should just pull the plug, kill the three core products, maybe adopt the xD styling for the Yaris hatch, and call the FT-86 a Celica.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I don’t think the iQ is necessarily a mistake: it’s a Smart with two more seats, that lack thereof being the prime reason why Smarts just don’t sell.

      The other Smart problem the iQ solves is cost. The Smart is smart at $10K or less. As a 15-25K vanity toy, not so much. The iQ (front-drive, larger economies of scale, Toyota’s better control of costs) should help it, here.

      • 0 avatar
        obruni

        the Smart’s price range is 12.5-20k, I think you are confusing it with the 500.

        and the reason that Smart isn’t selling is poor marketing and the transmission, not the lack of rear seating.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Those may be part of the problem of why the smart is not selling well, but two major reasons are killing it. One, for a car that forces so many compromises on the driver, the mileage is just not there. For most to give up utility, safety (perceived or otherwise), passenger capacity to the extent the smart does, mileage should be 80 plus. This is a seriously tiny car. From a mileage point of view, I can purchase a Prius and give up nothing else. The second killer is cost. Again, for such a one trick pony I expect a limited price. The smart just doesn’t deliver.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        I think having the extra seating will help the iQ. These cars aren’t made for life in the burbs. They’re for city dwellers – especially if they have to deal with on-street parking. Not for fuel economy or cheapness – these vehicles excel at grabbing parking spaces that almost no one else can get.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    It seems like the Scion launch was only yesterday. I remember closely following it in 2003, and read numerous articles about how Toyota planned to use the brand.

    I can recall Toyota executives saying that the brand wouldn’t have traditional “model years” like most other brands and that the product would be “continuously improved” as time went on. Essentially, this meant frequent product refreshes along the lines of every 2 years or so.

    And 8 years later, where are we? At the end of the second product cycle, of course. And the product is so old it’s rotten. Scions created a buzz for maybe the first two years, but after that they became quite stale. There was a moment in ’05 when I thought, “Hey, are they going to refresh them soon?” only to wait another 2 years for the refresh (which sucked, BTW).

    The second product cycle confirmed that Scion had been mismanaged from the beginning. Dead brand walking (and for some time now).

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Toyota had an iconic vehicle with the 1st gen Xb. It should have been given more accessories, another engine option, and some suspension tweaking. But otherwise they would have been far better off just leaving it alone in terms of the exterior design.

    The Tc should be a Celica. Just call it what it is. The new coupe should be called the Supra with a high horsepowered AWD option. Both of these names are well regarded today and Toyota would have little trouble with building an aura for these vehicles that go beyond the Scion brand.

    Anything else? Well I guess the iQ qill be interesting enough. Hopefully Toyota will be able to price it on the lower end of the subcompact market. I can see it doing battle with the Accent, Rio and Aveo. But if Toyota thinks that the Xa deserves yet another sequel they are seriously deluding themselves.

  • avatar
    Doc

    I went to the NAIAS this year. It happened to be high school day when i went. It was kind of interesting to see what young kids were looking at. The Scion area was the most crowded area in the whole place. There were about eight kids piled into an xB and they had the stereo blasting. I was kind of surprised by this.

    The emptiest area was Acura. You could shoot a cannon through there.

  • avatar
    ixim

    There’s a terrific 2nd gen Scion that’s selling very well – it’s called, Kia Soul”.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Automakers keep making the same vintage GM management mistakes over and over again. Once upon a time, GM had trouble competing with imports. Instead of doing the right thing and making its existing brands more competitive, they want cuckoo for Coco-puffs and started Saturn from scratch. Likewise Ford’s Lincoln brand was a perpetual also ran in the luxury market, so Ford bought Jaguar, Aston Martin, Land Rover and Volvo in hopes of getting in on the big bucks to be made selling high end vehicles. We all know how that story turned out.

    Toyota never should have launched Scion. They should have launched some more youth oriented PRODUCTS, but left them branded as Toyotas. That way they both could appeal to a younger audience and enhance the long term value of the Toyota brand.

    I don’t know how many very, very highly paid automotive marketers, consultants and advertising agencies there are out there … but they mostly seem to be over paid for what they so often get wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      ixim

      +1!

    • 0 avatar
      AKADriver

      I’m left wondering how many college kids had to explain to their Toyota-loyal parents that the xB they wanted was, in fact, a Toyota. Or how many ended up in something else because they didn’t know. I’m barely old enough to remember when Toyota made innovative products – I would’ve expected the 1st gen xB to wear a Toyota badge in 1985. I would’ve been pleasantly surprised to see the same in 2005.

      Likewise, the Scion branding of the FT86… sorry, FR-S… is a monumental mistake on multiple levels. There’s not only the “Scion ghetto” factor described in this article, where good Toyotas are left to rot on the Scion side of the dealership; but this is a car whose entire raison d’etre is to allude to the one car in their history that today’s “youth buyer” might recognize as a “cool Toyota.” By marketing it as the Scion FR-S, they’ve not only scrubbed the Toyota connection, but the connection to the AE86. It’d be like if GM branded the Camaro as a Saturn SC-3.

  • avatar
    Steve B

    http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/toyota+reports+april+2011+sales.htm

    “Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported
    April sales results of 159,540 units, a decrease of 2.4 percent compared to the same period last
    year, on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis.”

    “Scion posted April sales of 5,710 units, an increase of 53.7 percent over April 2010. The tC
    sports coupe led the way with sales of 2,674 units, up 119.9 percent year-over-year. The xB urban
    utility vehicle posted April sales of 1,831 units, an increase of 7.3 percent over the year-ago month.
    The xD reported sales of 1,205 units for the month, up 52.1 percent compared to the same period
    last year.”

    Wow… how’s the rest of Toyota USA doing?

    “Toyota Division passenger cars recorded combined sales of 77,512 units, down 5.1 percen from April 2010.”
    “Toyota Division light trucks recorded April sales of 64,452 units, an increase of 2.7 percent compared to last year.”

    “Lexus Division
    Lexus reported passenger car sales of 8,453 units, down 17.8 percent from April 2010.”
    “Lexus light trucks recorded sales of 9,123 units, up 3.9 percent over April 2010.”

    Yeah, guys, I’m there with ya! Toyota should definitely pull the plug on the one corner of the tha ofperation that is showing signs of upward motion.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The greatest Scion ever would be the Nissan Juke with the optional stereo system from the Outlander Sport.

    One thing that might help Scion is if they made their dealers truly different from the local Toyota shop. Right now they are almost the complete opposite of their “death metal” marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I keep wondering what will happen in my little city of 20,000. Our Chevy dealer is also a Toyota dealer with no Scion and no Lexus. The Chevy portion of the francise was Chevy-Cadillac (hell it was Chevy Cadillac Oldsmobile when I moved here in 2001) but recently the Cadillac portion of the opperation was shuttered by GM. I wonder if the dealership owner was wishing he was a Lexus/Toyota/Scion dealer now? The nearest Cadillac dealer is now 130 miles away. All I can see that happened because of the loss of a Cadillac fanchise in town is that more Avalons are being sold and more Lucernes.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I thought my xB1 was ugly until I saw a Juke – yech!

  • avatar
    car_guy2010

    Has the Scion Death Watch begun yet? It might as well since they seem to be going nowhere.

    I think it would have made more sense to make Toyota less stodgy/boring than create a sub-brand to appeal to younger people.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’d rather the FR-S come as a Toyota as I already have a Toyota that I love and having a stablemate for my 4Runner would be nice. I’m not going to not consider the FR-S because it is a Scion, though. If it hits the stated targets (light, quick, fun to drive, cheap), it will sell like gangbusters, especially to the late 20s/early 30s guys that currently have a Miata that they don’t drive as much as they’d like because it is dreadful on a trip more than 100miles with the top up. If I can convince my wife to part with her MCS in favor of a more practical baby mobile, this will be at the top of my list for a toy. I nearly pulled the trigger on the Miata last summer and the roof up noise deterred me. Plus, my wife said it was dumb to buy a Miata and then turn around and trade it for the FR-S if I liked it better. Hard point to argue.

    Also, it might be an issue that Scion needs the FR-S more than Toyota needs it.

  • avatar
    Marko

    I don’t understand all the hate for the second-generation xB – it’s a decent enough car, but maybe Toyota should have called it something else. I feel the same thing happened to the second generations of the Lexus IS and SC – both had different missions than their predecessors.

    The xD – I can’t even remember the last time I read a review of it.

    The tC is decent but unnecessarily ruined by sporting pretensions. Its stock wheel/tire combination is horribly suited to the daily driving most of its buyers will do. Toyota should offer an alternate, smaller but more comfortable wheel/tire combination at a minimal cost. Also, it needs a 4/5 door version. I remember Dr. Michael Karesh mentioning that one was coming in one of his reviews, but I haven’t heard anything else about one lately.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve B

      I think it’s largely the cult following of the 1gen xB, and the fact that it’s so uncharacteristic of Toyota, and Japan in general. Trying to carry on a model name with only a vague connection to the past is usually a Detroit thing (Impala? The many permutations of Cutlass, Century, Cougar?) The xB also is competing for sales with the Matrix these days.

      The xD is simply outclassed in too many areas – who would buy an xD with the Fit, Fiesta, Versa, Soul, etc. floating around out there?

      An area where Toyota has been successful with Scion is raising the expectations for econoboxes. The Echo was available with almost zero comfort options… hand cranked windows, manual locks and mirrors, no cruise… the Scion ‘monospec’ thing was a big deal – buy a small car, and it comes with power everything, a good stereo, nice looking trim, etc., without having to navigate through options packages.

      Look at the Fit, Fiesta, Mazda2: All come with standard equipment that was unheard of 10 years ago. Probalby due to gas prices though, the xD is sales are way up. That said, neither one of them (xD, xB) interest me that much, though I almost bought a 1st gen xB. It reminded me of a boxy Mini… the thing had charm. Bought an Element instead… then gas shot up. I kinda wish I’d bought that xB after all.

      And the tC. I’ve put about 3500 miles on my ’11 TC so far. I don’t know what you mean about ruining it with sporting pretensions, other than the large standard wheels (which, in this day and age, aren’t any bigger than what you see on midsize family sedans), and the flat-bottomed wheel (which I love because it makes extra space for my long legs). For the $17,995 I paid ($1K Mil rebate), there are no real options for a new 2-door car with the same level of equipment, aside from buying a Kia and trying to haggle it down. I don’t like 4-door cars, and my kids are finally old enough to climb into the back seat without having to deal with carseats.

      The comparisons to the Mustang are a bit odd. $21,078 for a completely base Mustang V6, and I can’t find any moonroof option listed, though there is a fixed glass roof for the Premium package. Regardless, my kids are long-legged and growing, and I’m long-legged (seat all the way back in every car I’ve ever driven)so a 2+2 isn’t really practical for them.

      I don’t think the tC will be a large volume seller, but it’s nice to see SOMEONE still making 2 door liftbacks these days.

  • avatar
    Flipper

    I tend to blame the no haggle pricing. Even in their own showroom, the dealer is free to lower the price of a Matrix / Yaris but not the Scions. + the Scions are made in Japan as opposed to a Matrix or Corolla which wont suffer from high Yen / US$ rates. It makes more sense for Toyota to just sell lots of discounted Corollas. @ a higher per vehicle profit.

  • avatar
    obruni

    there is a problem for the iQ….the Yaris.

    why buy an iQ when the Yaris is more spacious and just as fuel efficient?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The iQ fits into parking spaces better. For example in the Boston area, some neighborhoods have primarily on-street parking and the shorter the car, the easier it is to find a parking space. There are also large parking garages in Boston that even when they have a “full” sign display, will allow a small car to come in because they have tiny nooks and crannies that only something tiny will fit into. It’s also easier to maneuver in heavy city traffic when you have less vehicle to manage.

      So, the smaller exterior size is a feature unto itself. For some people, the tinier the vehicle, the easier life is. I’m glad the automakers are finally recognizing this and bringing A class cars into the US. It may not be the right car for Dearborn, but it’s perfect for East Boston, Cambridge, or the North End.

      • 0 avatar
        lostjr

        What MCS said about parking spaces. Here in San Francisco, it is common to see a Smart sitting in a street spot that would be too small for any other car.

        Hey TTAC, can you get registration numbers of Smarts and Minis in SF county? I think it would be way higher percentage than anywhere else in the country. Fiat should be starting their 500 push HERE.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve B

        After living on the Cali coast for 4 years, it’s always a pleasant shock to travel and see just how ginourmous the parallel parking spaces (and spaces in general) are in middle/landlocked/flyover/whatever you wanna call it America. The funny part about it… no matter how big the space, people STILL can’t parallel park.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      Why buy either of them when there’s a Honda Fit or a Ford Fiesta to be had – both better cars with as good or better fuel economy than either the iQ or the Yaris?

  • avatar
    Canandovq

    I think higher prices and customer misunderstanding about a new brand. Lexus is a different story.
    Lower prices, design improvement and sale it as Toyota and things, may get better.
    Think in a TOYOTA Xb, with a Corolla 1.8 engine, priced a little over a Kia Soul.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    To be honest, I have never been too wild about the first gen xB and the xA was better but neither impressed me and part of the problem was, while MOST cars came with alloy rims as standard or at least as an option, neither car got them standard, just as options and NO ONE bought them, instead, went with aftermarkets, come on now.

    The original xB was a little TOO boxy and the wheels looked TOO small for the boxy body, the current model is better, but it looks heavier and somewhat more bloated than the original, which looked like a light weight vehicle for its size, now it just looks kind of heavy, but be that as it may, it’s styling cues are an improvement IMO.

    The xA, it was a nice enough looking car and I liked it better than the first gen xB, however, I prefer the xD of the current car even if its based on the Yaris.

    But reading that people would not even consider it again left me kind of cold, as did the Yaris itself and the xD had some improvements made to it over the Yaris.

    And no, I’m not a young guy by any means, I’m middle aged and am ACTUALLY looking at getting the Fiat 500 over much of these types of cars, even the Kia Soul, Honda fit etc. Liked the fiesta from Ford but still, the 500 is the most fun little car I’ve had a chance to drive so far that sells for $20K or less.


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