SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 15, April 16, 2009

Scion Owners Like New iQ: What Do You Think?

 

The Scion iQ concept highlights the brand’s original bold design concept and, most important, accessory-friendly approach.

SEMA has collected the thoughts of Scion enthusiasts and is seeking commentary from SEMA members. In a multiple-part series, data collected from Scion owners will be presented in the weeks to follow. Members of the trade have the opportunity to weigh in on the results and share insights, commentary or foresight for other readers.

Submissions will be included in a follow-up article in the next issue of eNews, with the purpose of presenting data and creating an open forum for communication.

With the unexpected success of smart’s two-seat subcompact, automakers are beginning to test new waters with concepts, vehicle proposals and foreign-market transplants. Toyota unveiled its Scion-branded iQ Concept car at the 2009 New York International Auto Show to do just that. The purpose was not to issue the final production model but, rather, to measure consumer response.

The concept vehicle displayed was a creation from the design studio of Five Axis, a perennial designer of SEMA Show Scions, Toyotas and Lexus display vehicles.

While the concept is a wild departure from the iQ that is now offered in Japan and Europe, some of the important characteristics remained intact. At just a hair more than 10 feet in length and formatted as a 3+1 (three passengers and luggage), the city runabout aims to meet what the carmaker claims are the transportation needs of young urban trendsetters.

“We believe the Scion iQ micro-subcompact concept is the future of transportation," Scion Vice President Jack Hollis said in a press statement. "If it should join our future lineup, I think it could reach iconic status like our xB. Its styling will attract attention, and if it’s a Scion, you know it’ll be easy to personalize.”

Matching the iconic following of the xB would be good for Scion, but it could spell opportunity for specialty-equipment manufacturers as well. The first-generation “box” was a home run for both parties when it was introduced into North America as a Japanese transplant.

The second generation has yet to carve out the same level of enthusiasm, but if the iQ treads down a similar path as the introductory model, new consumers are sure to follow.

SEMA was fortunate to work with the online community ScionLife to engage their audience and collect their opinions prior to the concept’s release. This brand-specific automotive forum was responsive to the opportunity for a medium to communicate with members of the industry, so much that more than 400 Scion enthusiasts participated during the week they were surveyed.

One of the topics of the survey addressed this potential new Scion entry. Consumers were asked to submit their ratings for given statements. The responses outlined if they would purchase the vehicle and if so, their intention to customize one. When asked if the car would be a success, more than half (55%) agreed that it would, with only a small group (11%) believing that the model would not fare well.

Slightly less than half (47%) indicated that they would purchase one if the price was reasonable, but a significant amount (77%) claimed they would customize it if they bought one. This willingness to personalize has been at the heart of the brand since it was launched and would remain a driving force if the new model comes to fruition stateside.

Current Scion owners would welcome the new model into the lineup. Of those who had interest in purchasing one, the majority (77%) would customize it.

What do you think about these results, news of this concept or simply a new sibling in the Scion family? Leave your comments with a contact e-mail address. — SEMA Research & Information Center

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