With a handful of new models coming this year, Toyota's "youth brand" Scion is clearing the decks. One of the casualties is its unsuccessful iQ minicar.
The little car, often mistaken for the two-seat Smart ForTwo but actually a "3 + 1-seater" (at least technically), never met its sales goals. Last year, just 2,000 units were sold throughout the U.S.
DON'T MISS: Now We Know: U.S. Buyers Don't Much Want Tiny Two-Seat Cars (Jan 2013)
Now Bloomberg confirming that the Scion iQ will be dropped. The news service quotes Scion brand chief Doug Murtha as saying the iQ won’t be “staying in the lineup too much longer."
The iQ never came remotely close to meeting the confident April 2010 predictions of then-Scion executive Jack Hollis that it would sell "1,700 to 2,000" iQs a month.
2015 Scion iQ
In its best year, 2012, its sales total was just 8,879, but in 2013, that number fell by half to 4,406.
Then, last year, it fell again by another half, to a mere 2,040. (Scion also sold 248 iQs in 2011.)
The very smallest cars like the Scion and Smart minicars are great for parking in crowded city neighborhoods. Otherwise, they're much smaller, less powerful, and less capacious than most U.S. buyers want--especially this year, with gasoline prices down 40 percent.
Sales of the Smart ForTwo minicar have likewise remained at fairly low levels over the last six years--10,453 last year, exactly 10,009 in both 2013 and 2012 (hmmmm), 5,348 in 2011, 5,927 in 2010, and 14,600 in 2009.
2014 Smart ForTwo Elecric Drive
In fact, Smart ForTwo sales never again reached the lofty heights of 2008, the tiny two-seater's very first year on sale--during which gas prices soared to $4 a gallon in many states--when it sold 24,622 units.
That total was far more than the announced annual goal of 16,000, and it seemingly led some product planners and analysts to assume a greater U.S. appetite for the very smallest cars than has proved to exist.
Unlike Scion, however, Smart is making an active effort to sell the electric version of its minicar. Fully 2,594 of the Smarts sold were the Electric Drive version, and we're told the proportion in California approaches 50 percent.
The Scion iQ EV had the lowest electric range of any battery-electric car offered in the U.S.: a mere 38 miles. Fewer than 200 were built before Toyota canceled the vehicle (like the regular iQ, it was sold as a Toyota outside the U.S.).
Now, the Scion lineup is at last being refreshed. It will get at least two new models this year and next.
One of them will be a compact five-door hatchback that's essentially a rebadged European Toyota Auris.
Scion iM Concept at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show
Think of the upcoming Scion iM as the five-door Corolla hatchback Toyota doesn't sell in North America.
That vehicle was previewed at November's Los Angeles Auto Show by the Scion iM Concept.
The other vehicle is expected to be a subcompact four-door sedan based on the next Toyota Yaris, using underpinnings shared with the Mazda 2 subcompact.