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New York Auto Show 2008 — Scion Hako Coupe Concept

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You have to look long and hard to find a more difficult job than designing future Scion products. In its short life, Scion has raced to the forefront of Gen Y desirability. From zero to 173,000 units in just 4 years. Toyota Motor Sales claims the Scion brand to have a median buyer age of just 30 years old, which makes it the youngest brand in the United States. From the same group of people who bring us the Camry and Avalon, both standards for Boomer buyers, but neither evoking a youthful image.


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2008 Scion xB Release 5.0

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Popular Release Series Continues with Second-Generation xB
In an effort both to freshen the vehicle and to inspire buyers to do their own customization, Scion began offering Release Series special editions with the first xB. There were four with the first generation, none built in quantities of more than 2500 units, and the first for the second generation is on display at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.

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Release Series 5.0, continues the number sequence began with the first generation. Typical of the Scion RS products, only 2500 units of the 5.0 will be built. As before, changes to create the xB RS 5.0 are mostly cosmetic. Among the notable elements is the first xB moonroof. The RS 5.0’s exterior color, called Gold Rush Mica, was inspired by the color the introduction car wore at the 2007 Chicago auto show. The RS 5.0 also gets new wheel covers and a KenStyle body kit as standard; a color-keyed rear spoiler is optional. The exterior color carries into interior trim and seat fabric, and there is the requisite numbered badge.
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Scion tC – Wins AutoPacific 2007 Motorist Choice Sporty Car

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AutoPacific Take on Scion tC Win – Scion may have blurred the lines between production and custom vehicles but Scion owners have made sure the line their tC crosses is indelible. With the highest overall satisfaction in its class the Scion tC takes home this year’s Motorist Choice Award® for the Sporty Car category. Owners strong ratings for its exterior size, interior styling, interior storage and instrument layout help the tC achieve its leading performance. Owners submitted high marks for Scion’s reputation and tC’s reputation while their ratings for feeling safe while driving, overall seating capacity, and marks for being reliable/dependable bolstered its score.
IntelliChoice take on Scion tC win – The Scion tC is not only a fun car to drive, but with best in class retained value and low fuel, repair, and maintenance costs it is a great value.

Posted in: Awards, Scion, Toyota

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Scion tC Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Sporty Car

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Scion tC Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Sporty Car:
“The sporty car entry from Toyota’s Scion brand turns in a class-winning performance in its second year in our VSA research,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Scion tC buyers rated their vehicle highly for Seating Capacity, Rear Seat Comfort, Operating Costs in general, and Fuel Economy specifically”.


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2007 Chicago Auto Show: Scion's 2008 xB and xD

Introduction Simulcast on SecondLife.com
While Scion Vice President, Mark Templin, was presenting the new xB and xD to media at the Chicago auto show, his alter-personality at secondlife.com (called an avatar) was doing the same. SecondLife.com is an online world that started in 2003 and is now “inhabited” by 3.4 million people globally, and this is the first vehicle introduction simulcast in this online world. Secondlife.com is another way to communicate with people who need transportation once they return to the physical world and automotive manufacturers are taking notice. This is especially relevant for Scion, a brand with an average buyer at only 30 years old and an owner base that is probably the most plugged in of all.

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2008 xB and xD Take Over from First xB and xA
Scion was first envisioned as a line of cars with single lifecycles, though a box is expected to be a staple of the brand. Following this plan, the second-generation xB and the new xD were introduced at the 2007 Chicago auto show. xD takes the showroom space previously occupied by the xA. The xB arrives in dealers in April 2007 and the xD in August.
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Economy Compacts Fare Poorly in Crash Tests

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released their first crash ratings for Economy Compact Cars. They call them “minicars”. The IIHS often releases results like this to pressure car makers to achieve higher safety results than are required by the Federal Government (NHTSA). Being part of the insurance industry, the IIHS charter is to provide information that consumers can use to select a safer car or light truck – and hence a car that might generate lower personal injury claims in an accident.
Force Still Equals Mass X Acceleration… F=MA
The first thing you learn in Physics 101 is F=MA. Basically, this equation means that something bigger is going to win if it hits something smaller. People have historically bought Lincoln Town Cars partly because they were so big that they were guaranteed a “win” in an accident. The same thinking goes with Large Sport Utility Vehicles like the Chevrolet Suburban.
A very small car is going to lose in an accident with a much larger vehicle. There will be much more physical damage to the small car than to the big one. And all things being equal, people riding in the small car are more at risk. The IIHS and Federal Government have noted that as fuel economy goes up (through vehicles getting lighter and smaller), damage and injuries also go up. In this case, bigger and heavier is better. But with skyrocketing gas prices folks rightly want more fuel efficient cars and trucks.

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With that in mind, Economy Compacts have been introduced… Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa are the three that were launched in 2006 as 2007 model year cars. Only the larger Versa aced the crash tests… Versa includes side curtain air bags as standard equipment. Yaris, where side curtain air bags are optional, fails if it is not equipped with these safety enhancements.
The IIHS press release is included below the fold if you want to read the whole thing. But just remember, when it comes to safety, and all other things are equal, the bigger vehicle will win. F will always equal MA.


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Scion xB – Wins Motorist's Choice Small Wagon

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AutoPacific Take on win by Scion xB –
Scion xB owners’ satisfaction ratings for its size and package strongly contribute to its class-leading performance in the Motorist’s Choice Awards’® Small Wagon category. The xB “rolling box” design makes it very easy to get into and out of and easy for the driver to see out of. These are important factors to the xB owner. While xB is small on the outside, it is huge on the inside with its limousine-like rear seat getting rave reviews.
IntelliChoice Analysis – The Scion xB is a true Motorist’s Choice ‘no-brainer’. We at IntelliChoice named the xB as a Best Overall Value of the Year winner in 2006 thanks to its amazing resale value and low expected maintenance and fuel costs. And when you factor in the low entry price, the xB shines. The amazing thing is that it came to the U.S. market to attract younger drivers, but it seems to be a bit hit across all ages. With a Cost of Ownership of just $23,500 vs. $27,000 for it competitors, can you blame them?


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Motorist's Choice Awards – a New Benchmark Rating Automotive Excellence

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INTELLICHOICE.COM AND AUTOPACIFIC TEAM UP TO ANNOUNCE FIRST ANNUAL MOTORIST’S CHOICE AWARDS
– Awards Recognize Vehicles with Highest Driver Satisfaction and Lowest Cost of Ownership –
– Infiniti QX56 Wins Highest Rating Among All Classes/Vehicle Models –
AutoPacific, the industry source for automotive owner satisfaction ratings and IntelliChoice.com, the online source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis, today announced the results of the newly established Motorist’s Choice Awards for the 2006 vehicle model year.
IntelliChoice.com and AutoPacific created the Motorist’s Choice Awards to determine the vehicles that delivered both the highest satisfaction and lowest cost of ownership. The collaboration between the two respected firms, who have each been authorities on the U.S. car market for the last 20 years, takes selected owner satisfaction data from AutoPacific’s surveys of new car and light truck buyers and combines it with IntelliChoice.com’s rating methodology to create a new measurement that speaks to both the hearts and minds of car buyers.
“While the economic analysis of car ownership remains very important—it can save or cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the vehicle—it is also important to recognize owner satisfaction as another significant influencer in vehicle purchases,” said James Bell, publisher of IntelliChoice.com. “These are the two key benchmarks we think car buyers should be most attuned to.”
“Ratings of owners’ satisfaction with their new car and truck illustrates how well the vehicle is satisfying the emotional and practical needs of the driver. Satisfaction is more than simply how well a product is screwed together and there are many more dimensions to the equation. Combining AutoPacific’s satisfaction results with the value analysis from IntelliChoice provides the car buyer with an outstanding benchmark to use when selecting a new vehicle,” said George Peterson, President of AutoPacific.
WINNERS
For the inaugural awards, IntelliChoice.com and AutoPacific identified 29 winning models by segment and class. The top-ranked vehicles in their respective categories are:
o Cars: Lexus LS430
o Trucks: Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 (2WD)
o SUV/Crossover: Infiniti QX56
o Minivans/Wagons: Audi A6 4.2 Quattro
In terms of overall rankings, the Infiniti QX56 SUV scored highest in both driver satisfaction and lowest cost of ownership, followed closely by the Lexus LS430 sedan.


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Scion FUSE and the Future

Styling Exercise Takes Sport Coupe in a New Direction
At the 2006 New York auto show, Scion showed a new take on the sports coupe concept, melding a small coupe body with a silhouette vaguely reminiscent of the Chrysler 300. As with other New York introductions, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were on hand. The FUSE has a high beltline that seems to rise as your eyes travel the length of the vehicle. Though the FUSE deck is nowhere near as pronounced as that on the 300 and FUSE sports a much shorter nose, FUSE reminded us of what the 300 might look like if you just chopped a large section of the middle of the 300 out.

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Scion described the FUSE as a styling exercise. Its purpose at auto shows is to evaluate consumer and public reaction to the exterior shape as well as the cool tricks it plays inside. We may well see a shape along these lines in the Scion range at the end of the decade, or we may not. We found the blend of tall sedan silhouette, short nose, that the rear quarter panel hints there is a trunk instead of a tailgate, and that there very little of a traditional sporty coupe in its presence or profile created an intriguing package.
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USA Today – Yaris Pleasant Enough to Drive

Jim Healey of USA Today reaches similar conclusions as VehicleVoice (http://www.vehiclevoice.com) and AutoPacific (http://www.autopacific.com) relative to the upcoming Toyota Yaris. Excellent replacement for the Toyota Echo, low entry price, but seems a little expensive when loaded with equipment most American drivers demand.
ATLANTA — Yaris is a small, economy car that will replace the unloved Echo in Toyota’s U.S. lineup this spring, and while it is pleasant enough behind the wheel, Yaris seems to fall short of Toyota’s promise of a premium vehicle at a bargain price.
Two body styles of Toyota’s Yaris are offered in the USA, a four-door sedan and a “liftback.”
Final judgment must wait for specific pricing, which Toyota won’t announce until closer to Yaris’ March or April on-sale date. But $12,000 to start is a fair guess, and for that price you won’t get a radio, possibly not a tachometer, definitely not anti-lock brakes. (Photos/audio: Toyota Yaris with Healey’s comments)
Most of the desirable features are available, for a price. If that strategy bumps Yaris up to, say, $14,000 outfitted as most Americans like, then it will be within a few hundred dollars of bigger, more refined cars such as Honda Civic and Toyota’s own Corolla. Not incidentally, Corolla’s fuel-economy rating is better than Yaris’, and Civic’s is nearly as good, even though both are bigger, heavier and have more-powerful engines.
The industry axiom is “small cars, small profits,” and it’s often true. So why bother introducing a subcompact into the size- and space- and power-loving American market? Because 45% of small-car owners — the most of any segment — eventually trade up to pricier, more-profitable models known as premium compacts, such as Civic and Corolla, according to the Power Information Network. And within that group, a significant number — 30%-plus is common — stay with the same brand, PIN data show.
In other words, buyers captured by small cars don’t require as much expensive persuading to get them to move up through the same car company’s more-profitable models.
Hoping to leverage Yaris’ appeal, Toyota says it put two separate engineering teams to work on two versions of Yaris — a four-door sedan and a two-door hatchback — and kept them apart to encourage independent design.
Toyota calls the hatchback a “liftback,” sensing that “hatchback” remains a pejorative term in the U.S. market.
The sedan is the bigger car, outside and in. The rear seat in the hatchback slides fore-aft to maximize either legroom or cargo space. With the rear seat all the way back, there is plenty of adult legroom. That’s remarkable in such a small vehicle.
The main test vehicle was a two-door hatchback equipped with a five-speed manual transmission.


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