Scion is quite sure of one thing: the new iQ is a much better car than the smart fortwo. What they’re much less sure of: how many of the targeted fine young North American urbanites will buy one rather than periodically use Zipcar. I’m neither young nor urban, but I’m going to do my best to pretend. Why might I buy this car—or not?
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?
In the market to buy a condo in Tokyo? If you buy the right one, it will come with a car. Starting in spring 2012, Toyota plans to launch a condominium-based car-sharing program in collaboration with Japanese real estate developers. (Read More…)
The attentive reader of TTAC is not surprised by the news provided by Automobilwoche [sub] that Toyota will introduce a plug-in version of its iQ by 2012. It had been on Toyota’s green roadmap for months. The (not really) surprising news is: You won’t be able to buy the EV iQ when it gets launched. (Read More…)
“This could be Toyota’s iPod,” said UK’s Fifth Gear. The iQ is Toyota’s (some say much smarter) answer to Daimler’s Smart. But the trouble is: The iQ is only available in Japan and Europe. Its impending arrival in the U.S.A. has been announced many times. More on that later. While in Japan, I wanted to test-drive the smallest car of the world’s largest automaker. But first, there were huge obstacles to overcome.
We’ve called Toyota’s Tesla-developed RAV4 EV an “EV insurance policy,” but it seems that Toyota is even hedging its hedges. Automotive News [sub] reports that the Japanese automaker is developing an EV version of its iQ city car in-house, the first in-house EV developed by Toyota for the mass market. If Toyota’s experiment with Tesla fails the way Tesla’s development partnership for the Smart EV with Daimler did, Toyota will be ready with an in-house developed EV. The iQ EV should have a 65 mile range when market-ready, but no date has been given for its launch. Though offering less range than the RAV4 EV, the iQ EV should be considerably cheaper for Toyota to produce… and it keeps the automaker’s engineers in the EV game. As Toyota moves towards a 2015 hydrogen car, it’s plugging EVs into the city car profile where they should remain competitive long-term. This seems to be the model for the future: EVs for short-range city commuting, hydrogen for longer distances, and continuously-improved gasoline cars for those who can’t afford either. The broad-based green car portfolio seems to be the way of the future.
Toyota’s Verso S will debut at the forthcoming Paris Auto Show, and these first pictures show that iQ-inspired styling is starting to creep across the Toyota small-car lineup. So does the edgier (by Toyota standards) iQ-inspired design language mean the shortest micro-MPV in Europe (at under 4 meters) might make it stateside as a Scion-branded van? Anything’s possible, but Toyota ain’t saying… for now.
How could the whole Toyota iQ-rebadging situation get any more embarrassing for Aston-Martin? The answer is staring you in the face. The Aston Cygnet is rapidly becoming one for the history books [via Autocar.co.uk]
“Scion is pretty much a North American brand, so that is why it is very natural to think more development, more design work, should be done in North America,” Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota Motor North America tells Automotive News [sub]. In other words, fans of Scion’s first generation of JDM confections who railed against second-gen bloat are probably out of luck. Sure, model four in the Scion lineup will be the iQ minicar, which is small and weird enough to have been a member of the Scion invasion team, but after that? It’s all bloat and bigger blind spots from here on out. It’s what America wants.
VW’s biggest news from LA today is the Up! Lite, no doubt designed by some uptight Germans intent on bring a strange looking, Germanically efficient vehicle to the shores of America (or Poland). Obviously a result of VW’s development of a 100+MPG 1+1 seater car, the 70 mpg Up! Lite makes up for its homely looks with in-town efficiency. But then its main competition, the Toyota iQ and Smart FortTwo aren’t exactly lookers themselves. Under the hood lurks a 0.8L TDI engine and a 10kw electric motor making for leisurely acceleration despite the featherweight kerb figures.