After making a big initial splash with its 2002 debut, the Scion brand has failed to come up with a compelling reason or product to keep buyers coming back. With sales of the Scion iQ falling about 50% to just over 2,000 units sold, brand boss Doug Murtha said that the smallest Scion won’t be in the lineup “too much longer” reports Bloomberg.
While the brand plans to introduce three new vehicles over the next three years, it’s current lineup is lacking much appeal outside of its no-haggle sales strategy. With the end of xD production in July, Scion was left with just four models including the iQ. So even with three brand new products in the pipeline, the brand current has just three new models to offer buyers, the long-serving xB and tC, as well as the more-recent FR-S.
The iQ was a decidedly less-measured introduction to the brand though, as its small size was a big turnoff to a lot of buyers. Apparently Toyota didn’t see what happened to Smart when it tried to force its way into the American car market, and the iQ wasn’t good enough in any regard to really resonate with buyers.
For example, the 11 airbags helped it achieve a good, but not great 4-star crash test rating, and the 36/37 MPG city/highway rating that was the best non-hybrid out there…but if you really care about fuel economy, a 50 MPG Prius C only costs a couple of grand more, and it’s larger too. One had to make a lot of compromises to justify owning a Scion iQ, and the most-compelling version, the iQ EV, never made it past a handful of car-sharing programs. The closest comparable competitor, the Fiat 500E, has been sold out for months.
Now with gas prices hurting the iQ’s only real selling point, Toyota has seen the writing on the wall and is pulling the plug on the iQ “experiment” as Murtha called it, and it’s unlikely to see a direct replacement. With Scion down to just three products, those new vehicles can’t arrive soon enough.