Due to the struggles related to disruptions among autoparts suppliers in Japan that Toyota Motor Corp. faces, the company disclosed that the scheduled launch of its compact Scion iQ vehicle model this summer could be delayed this year. According to Scion vice president Jack Hollis at an interview during the New York motor show, details of the schedule are expected after Japan’s "Golden Week" holidays, which run from April 28 to May 9.
The disaster that hit Japan last March 11 forced the company to suspend production at all its plants in the country. The disaster also forced the company to limit production in its North American operations.
Moreover, carmakers have to search for suppliers of vehicle components especially electronic parts and semiconductors as their inventories diminish. The company plans to resume operations in its factories in Japan at their normal production rates on May 10.
Hollis added that the company may have to delay the new iQ’s launch, which is still “really important” to the brand according to him, until it gets confirmation from Japan on production.
In addition, Hollis forecasted that the Scion will still be able to meet its sales goal for this year of around 55,000 and 65,000 units despite the delay. The iQ was unveiled last year and was considered as a competitor to the Smart car of Daimler, Hollis stated. He added that Scion is aimed at the younger consumer groups, with median age of 35 years old.
The new Scion iQ is essentially a well-balanced blend of functionality and comfort intelligently packaged into a small car. In a sense, the new Scion iQ is able to offer certain attributes of vehicles twice its size. When viewed from the sides, the new Scion iQ features a strong and high beltline that flows from the large solid headlamps, through the A-pillar and the roof, and then hugs around the rear.
In addition, the new Scion iQ also features side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Meanwhile, the rear end of the new Scion iQ is laden with trapezoidal lines flowing toward the wheels, running from the hatch to the bumper's accent. Making the new Scion iQ easy to maneuver even in urban traffic is a suspension system that consists of MacPherson struts on the front, and a torsion beam suspension on the rear.
Sitting on a wheelbase of around 78.7 inches, this small car is only 120.1-inch long and 66.1-inch wide. These dimensions as well as its short front and rear overhangs allow the Scion iQ to tackle even the tightest parking spaces in the city. It is laden with technological features -- including inverted front-mounted differential, electronic power-steering system with compact steering column, and compact air-conditioning unit – that allowed it to feature a shorter front end. It also comes with a flat gas tank located beneath the floor that makes its rear overhangs shorter.
One of the most interesting attributes of the Scion iQ is its functional "3+1" seating, wherein the driver and front-passenger's seats are positioned slightly off set to allow for enough space to accommodate one adult behind the front passenger and a child behind the driver. Scion has made the front seat backs much slimmer to offer ample legroom for rear passengers. Since the rear seats feature a 50/50 split and could be folded flat, the new Scion iQ has enough room for up to two golf bags.
Safety is one the top priorities for the new Scion iQ. In fact, it comes with active safety features like an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC) and Brake Assist (BA).
Nevertheless, the Scion iQ is equipped, as standard, with 10 SRS airbags: driver- and front-passenger airbags; driver- and front-passenger seat-mounted side airbags; a driver seat-cushion airbag; the first rear-window curtain airbag in the world; side curtain airbags; as well as driver- and front-passenger knee airbags.