It will come as no surprise to regular TTAC readers when I say that Scion has had some sales issues lately. But instead of euthanizing the brand as some on TTAC have suggested, Toyota has decided to take a different route. Thankfully, rather than creating more me-too models based off of US-market Toyotas, the plan includes some JDM/Euro models and the much anticipated “Toyobaru “sports car. The first object of foreign desire landing stateside to start off Scion’s resurrection is the Toyota iQ micro-car. The iQ should be in showrooms across the country soon, but does Scion have the IQ to make a smarter Smart?
Autocar reports that the next-generation of Smart city car is being co-developed by Daimler and Renault. The rear-engined platform is being described as “modular,” with variable wheelbase and track, and will underpin the next Smart ForTwo and ForFour as well as several Renaults. Initially Mercedes will provide three-pot engines with six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. Eventually, the two firms will develop a series of 1.8 liter engines to power the ForFour, as well as the new Mercedes A and B classes and future Renault Twingo, Clio, Modus, Mégane and Scenic models. Both firms plan EV and hybrid versions as well, although the firms have not decided which will lead development of these drivetrains… which can’t be a good sign for Tesla which has a Smart electrification contract with Daimler. Equally undecided is whether Nissan will get a version to match up with Toyota’s iQ. In any case, it’s become clear that what began as a unique-platformed, niche brand was going to have to change. By sharing costs, developing a viable four-seater on the same platform and offering advanced drivetrains, Daimler may just be able to pull Smart’s fat from the fire.