If you're eagerly waiting for the first 2011 Scion iQ minicar to show up at your dealer, sit down and have a nice cup of tea. You're going to have wait a bit longer.
Scion's parent, Toyota, is delaying the U.S. launch of the iQ, originally scheduled to happen by March of this year, to sometime this summer.
2011 Scion iQ at 2010 New York Auto Show, with Scion's Jack Hollis
tC in the spotlight
Spokesman Greg Thome said the delay stemmed from prototypes from Japan being delivered "a couple of months" late.
He also noted that Scion wanted to push the launch forward so it could focus its marketing efforts on the redesigned 2011 Scion tC sport coupe.
That car was unveiled last April at the New York Auto Show, along with the production version of the iQ, but is already on sale at Scion dealers. Thome said the company wanted the 2011 tC "to be in the spotlight by itself."
2009 Scion iQ Concept
3 + 1 seating
Though only slightly longer than a 2011 Smart ForTwo, which is a two-seater, the Scion iQ offers three seats for adults plus one more for a child. It was previewed as a concept at the 2009 New York Auto Show.
A media preview of the car, planned for this month and then canceled, is likely to be rescheduled for early summer. "Summer is a great selling season for the launch of a new car," said Thome cheerfully.
He couldn't say whether the Scion iQ models that launch this summer would be designated 2011 or 2012 models. The iQ has, among other features, nine standard airbags, including one across the rear window to protect the heads of rear-seat passengers.
Aston Martin Cygnet Concept
Or, buy a baby swan
Assuming it's a 2012 model by then, eager minicar buyers may have a second way to buy the little iQ. If they want to pony up more than three times the price that Scion will charge, they may be able to head over to their local Aston Martin dealership and purchase a Cygnet.
One of the more unusual vehicles to come out of the fabled Briish marque, the Aston Martin Cygnet is a Toyota iQ (as it's sold in Europe) that is largely refurnished and retrimmed at the company's British factory. (A cygnet is a baby swan.)
The goal is to reduce the brand's average emissions by adding a smaller vehicle to its lineup of fast, thirsty sports cars. Aston Martin buys the cars from Toyota, re-creates them, and then sells them at its dealers--but only to existing Aston Martin owners, it says.
Aston Martin Cygnet in zebra stripe pattern
Car as dinghy tender
Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez calls the Cygnet "akin to an exclusive tender to a luxury yacht." Translated, that means it's the car you drive to the garage where your proper Aston Martin is maintained by your staff.
While it may be only 127 inches long, the Cygnet boasts a lengthy list of standard luxury features. A full leather interior is de rigeur, along with heated seats, satellite navigation, and keyless entry and start. The first Cygnets will come with a five-piece bespoke luggage set made especially to fit into the car.
Aston Martin said this week that production would start in April, and that it hopes to expand Cygnet sales beyond Europe to other markets, including the U.S.
The list price is a cool £30,995, or just a hair under $50,000 at current exchange rates. Thankfully, the zebra-skin patterned body wrap is only an option.
[Toyota, Automotive News (subscription required)]