Secondgen xB not as successful as original

Second-gen xB not as successful as original.

Scion Killing xB, xD in Favor of All-New Models

Harkening back to the original brand tenet of “one-and-done” models, Scion won't carry over the names of the xB and xD and likely won't replace them with another box and hatchback, the brand’s top executive says.

LAS VEGAS – Toyota's Scion brand will jettison its xB boxy compact and xD subcompact hatchback in favor of all-new models, WardsAuto learns.

"We don't have plans for a direct xB or xD replacement," Jack Hollis, vice president-Scion says in an interview during a Scion FR-S media drive here.

Harkening back to the original brand tenet of “one-and-done” models, Scion won't carry over the names of the xB and xD, and it likely won't replace them with another box and hatchback, he says.

The xD, launched in 2007, has seen just one generation and the xB two. Reviews of the second model, also last new in 2007, have been less positive than the first generation that still is beloved by Scion enthusiasts. Sales have fallen as well.

The original xB, a near copy of Toyota’s Japan-market bB, was an immediate success upon its U.S. launch in 2003, selling 47,013 units in its first full sales year of 2004 and hitting a record 61,306 in 2006, WardsAuto data shows.

The second-generation xB delivered a mere17,017 units in 2011, far below that of segment leader, the Kia Soul, which cracked 100,000 units.

Toyota CEO Jim Lentz said at a 2009 auto industry conference that the bigger, less-quirky second-generation xB missed the mark.

“I think it lost a little bit of its edge,” he said at the time. “It lost some of its fun-to-drive characteristic. (If we could) do things over again, we would (add) a little bit of fun-to-drive back to that vehicle.”

Scion hopes for lightening to strike twice with a market replacement that is just as sought-after as the first xB, Hollis says.

"When (the) xB came out, it was really that first box," he says. "Not only was it iconic, but it was looking at the market and finding a space where there was a unique opportunity. That's what Scion is looking to do again."

Replacement models for the xB and xD either will be groundbreaking or something the industry hasn't seen in awhile, Hollis says, pointing to the new FR-S rear-wheel-drive sports car as an example of the latter philosophy. Along the same lines, Scion continues to study a compact-pickup truck, he says.

"It's clearly a hole in the industry," he says. Scion is trying to come up with a truck that would not overlap the Toyota Tacoma and be more affordable.

However, a production version of the Toyota A-BAT hybrid midsize pickup concept is a non-starter, because its price- would be on par with the Tacoma’s, Hollis says.

Timing for the xB and xD replacements is unclear, although neither are expected this year or next. Scion will stop selling the xD before the xB, he says, and is not planning to launch their replacements at the same time.

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