Posted Oct 30th 2014 8:00AM
When the doors open at the LA Auto Show in a few weeks, Scion will be on hand to showcase its new iM Concept. But considering what little Toyota's youthful brand has revealed about the concept so far, it's led to rampant speculation. And the prevailing wisdom seems to point towards a production iM arriving as a Scion-badged version of the Toyota Auris.
For those unfamiliar, the Auris is to European (and other) markets essentially what the Matrix is (was?) to ours: a hatchback version of the Corolla. The model line was first introduced in 2006, looking in its first iteration like an overgrown version of the contemporary second-gen Yaris, and was replaced with the current model in 2012. It's available as a five-door hatch or wagon, with a range of gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains available.
If the rumours – spurred by the similarity of the iM concept's nose depicted in the teasers – prove accurate, and public reception to the idea ends up spurring Toyota to put it into action, it wouldn't be the first overseas Toyota brought over as a Scion. The Scion iQ was sold as the Toyota iQ overseas years before it arrived here.
Toyota and Scion are not, of course, the only automakers using such an arrangement to bring overseas models to the North American market in parallel to its US ones. Honda used the Acura brand to market the Euro-spec Accord as the TSX in North America, General Motors has been doing the same for years with Opel offerings rebadged first as Saturn products and now as Buick models, and Chrysler markets Fiat Professional vans in America under the Ram nameplate.
The iM would likely replace the aging xB as part of a near complete overhaul of the Scion lineup that could bring Toyota's version of the new Mexican-built Mazda2 as successor to the slow-selling iQ.