Toyota drops Scion iQ in the US after dismal sales performance

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 19, 2015

Toyota Motor Corp. is planning to stop selling the Scion iQ after the size, price and fuel economy of its smallest car didn’t get the attention of buyers in the United States. In fact, Toyota only sold 2,040 iQs in the US in 2014 for a 50-percent drop, as the carmaker allowed its dealers to submit orders based on demand, according to Scion’s brand chief Doug Murtha.

He told Bloomberg at the Detroit auto show that the iQ won’t be “staying in the lineup too much longer.” Scion currently offers four models, after stopping output of the the xD ended in July 2014. Toyota, however, is planning to roll out three Scion models in the next three years, including two this year as it tries to revive the now struggling brand which sales dropped 15 percent in 2014 to just 58,009.

Murtha remarked that the iQ was a “healthy experiment” that allowed Toyota to learned important lessons about US consumers’ preferences. Customers found the small size of the iQ non-appealing, even if Toyota tried to assured them that the vehicle was engineered to achieve a four-star crash rating and even features 11 airbags.

“Physics are physics, and they’re nervous about driving a vehicle that size,” Murtha remarked. The iQ measures 120 inches (305 centimeters) long and 66 inches wide, making its 14 inches longer and about 5 inches wider than the Smart ForTwo.

Murtha added that US buyers usually associate size with price and they don’t have much interest in premium small cars just like Europeans. The iQ carries a starting price of $16,435 and offer 37 miles (60 kilometers) per gallon in city and highway driving. Despite than, Murtha quipped that US buyers think that at iQ’s size, it should return around 60 mpg.

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