I love the occasional North American auto show, and by occasional, I mean the NYIAS. As I wandered the Jacob Javits Center, made my way to the North Hall and once I get over staring at Subaru’s incredible display of the Impreza and WRX race-bred cars, I bumped into the Scion iA.
I immediately took a picture of the car, posted it on InstaGram and claimed that I’d spotted a Mazda2 sedan with a Toyota front fascia. I had obviously completely forgotten about the fact that Mazda and Toyota were in already in bed over this one.
The all-new Scion iA (Toyota Yaris sedan in Canada) is in fact a Mazda2 sedan that is not commercialized in Canada nor will it likely ever be. The same applies for the US. Mazda even wonders if there’s enough demand to support the existence of a subcompact sedan.
The 2016 Mazda2 hatchback made its North American premiere at the Montreal auto show in January and was slated to arrive in showroom later on in 2015. Things and planning changed at Mazda and so the 2 was put on hold. Toyota’s plans did not change.
The Scion iA and Toyota Yaris sedan, built at the Salamanca plant in Mexico along side the new Mazda, arrive in showrooms this fall and might do wonders for Toyota’s youth oriented brand in the US that has only the FR-S that is deemed stimulating. The new iM may find its way into the interesting column soon as well. The iA could certainly attract a new crowd into dealerships. Said crowd is unlikely to come from Toyota as the Yaris, a competitor, has been offered solely as a hatchback for the last few years.
In Canada, the Toyota Yaris sedan will wedge itself between the Yaris hatchback and the Corolla, as though it never left. The very compact sedan was popular in its day and should offer a viable alternative to the large number of small hatchbacks for those that, for some reason, don't like having a large opening to access their gear in the trunk.
The stark contrast in design between the iQ, xB and tC makes the latter three look like relics from another era. The iM is promising and will complement the iA nicely. I suspect that a complete makeover of Scion’s line-up will be completed within the next two years given the influx of new product. From where I sit though, I wonder if Scion should even exist...
In the meantime, the iA will be an interesting story to follow is the US. Small hatchbacks are immensely popular in Canada, more so than sedans and the opposite is true in the USA, a far more influential market.
In Canada, Scion still has very little pull, as a brand, selling roughly as many units as BMW delivers new X3s, so slapping a Toyota badge on the front grille makes good business sense.
Source: Automotive News