2008 Toyota iQ
The iQ is perfectly situated to capitalize on the Smart ForTwo’s niche market, except it can do one…er two better than the Smart-- it can seat four. The 2010 Toyota iQ is 117.5” in length and 66.1” in width, which makes it almost a foot longer than the Smart ForTwo. Given the difference in passenger capacity, what is a foot among friends right?
2007 Toyota IQ Concept
So it has gas mileage, it has size, but will Toyota bring the iQ to the U.S.? Well, according to Reuters, the Senior Vice President of Operations at Toyota said that the company is contemplating bringing the iQ to the U.S. market. Since the 2010 Toyota iQ is smaller than the Toyota Yaris subcompact and similar in size to the Smart, it makes sense to bring some competition to the micro car market. And speaking of competition, Toyota isn’t the only auto manufacturer considering new micro vehicles. Our partners over at TheCarConnection.com claimed earlier this month that Hyundai may be developing its own “green baby vehicle” (read more here).
All the signs seem to point to the iQ being the next hit in the U.S. market, so why is Toyota still unable to commit? Reuters believes this is most likely due to the fact that Toyota has seen a 15% drop in sales during 2008 and that the company is carrying a lot more inventory than normal. These factors together have already lead to cuts in production of both the Toyota Camry and Corolla models, as well as, suspension of work on its new plant in Mississippi. Given the current U.S. economy, it is understandable that Toyota is hesitant, but if any market is going to grow it is going to be the small and micro car markets. I say, “Bring on the iQ!”