Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Marketing and selling a very small car in the United States is a challenge; just ask Daimler subsidiary Smart, the brand responsible for the Fortwo. But Scion is pushing forward with the new 2012 iQ, so what sort of sales volumes is Toyota’s youth brand projecting?
As we learned during last week’s press launch, it appears Scion is keeping its expectations tempered and doesn’t foresee the iQ running away with a sales title, ultimately envisioning volume to track figures produced by its xB and xD. Predicting individual model sales can be a crapshoot depending on the vehicle, but assuming the iQ breaks into the market closer to xD numbers (the xB sold 20,364 units to the xD’s 10,110 in 2010), that would put the tiny Scion on pace for over 800 per month.
Why use last year’s sales numbers? Through June, xB sales are off 13.5 percent year-over-year, though part of the blame may lie with the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year. The xD is up 9.1 percent but the 2011 tC, still fresh from its second-gen launch, is 98.1 percent ahead of its position last year and reigning volume king. Being the latest and greatest has its perks, and newness will be one of the iQ’s big selling points.
But as we’ve been following for years and months, the tone isn’t as upbeat over at iQ-competitor Smart. In 2010, the German carmaker recorded 5927 Fortwo sales. The best documented month in 2011 so far is May with a grand total of 492 units, but even if Smart managed those 492 sales per month for an entire year it wouldn’t breach the 2010 total. Sales have stagnated since the three-cylinder city car arrived on our shores, and given the Fortwo’s gloomy outlook, can the iQ swoop in and clean up this small-car segment?
Pricing may be the biggest hurdle. With 11 airbags, Bluetooth, and HD Radio as standard equipment and a marketing campaign aimed at trend-setting youths and the young-at-heart, the iQ is jumping into battle with a base price of $15,995 (includes a $730 destination charge). It’s understandably not a bargain-basement price, but the modern-day content-obsessed subcompact and compact genres are more competitive than ever. Scion is confident its premium entry will find a receptive audience and notes that over 70 percent of Scion owners are new Toyota customers.
The iQ enters production at the end of August and goes on sale in October on the West Coast first, followed by the Southeast and Gulf states in January 2012. It then moves on to New York and the rest of the East Coast in February before wrapping up in the Midwest in March.