In the midst of launching its iQ mini-car and in preparation of the massive spike in exposure the brand will get from the FR-S sports car, Scion VP Jack Hollis is already looking into the distant future. “We are currently working on several different concepts,” he says sitting in the back seat of a highly customized xB at the SEMA Show.
As for exactly what those concepts will be, he won’t say, but Scion does have two models that will soon be in need of overhauls, while the brand is always looking to grow its product offering. In previous discussions Hollis has mentioned his interest in bringing a mini-truck to market; something compact and car-based, a size down from the incredibly popular Toyota Tacoma.
“Versus other vehicles, I can’t say it’s priority one,” admits Hollis, however, he says, “I’m very interested in it. A lot of prospective owners are interested in it and every meeting I have in Japan, I’m asking, what else can we do.”
Not prepared to just ask, Hollis has a plan for a new model that would evolve much like with the Toyota-Subaru tie-up that produced the FR-S (FT-86/BRZ). Initially, he says, he wanted to see about bringing over a small truck from Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu, but with all the necessary regulations it was impossible to make a business case for it. Instead, Hollis suggests he’d like to see a collaboration with Daihatsu, sharing a product and developing it together from inception.
In addition to a min-truck, Hollis believes there’s room in the Scion brand for even more vehicles in the compact and sub-compact range. “I think there’s a movement towards small cars,” he says.
Beyond new additions to the brand, Scion also needs to look at revamping its current lineup, particularly the lacklustre xD and volume selling xB. The xD and its predecessor the xA have never performed as well as they could, lagging behind sub-compact top sellers like the Yaris, Fit and Versa in a segment where, considering its targeted market, Scion should be tops. While mum on the xB, Hollis says not to expect just another version of the xD. Speaking about its replacement, he says that “If I get my wishes it will be nothing like the xA or xD.”
With the official debut of the Toyota FT-86 planned for the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, the Scion version is expected to arrive at the New York Auto Show in the Spring. Hollis wouldn’t say as much, but considering Scion’s history of debuting concept cars in the Big Apple, look for a hint at future product too.