Automotive

Published on May 18th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Scion iA: the partnership between Toyota and Mazda

We may not care much for Scion as it’s a brand that exists purely in North America, but for those who have been keeping track of their latest developments, you may notice something peculiar. Scion recently launched a pair of models, the iA and the iM. The iM is a sportier version of the Corolla hatchback, which is not available here or in the United States. But pay close attention to the iA.

Scion iA 5

Just a few days ago, Toyota announced a partnership with Mazda- the details of which were not fully known to the public. Some suspected it would be sharing of powertrains, although the idea is that Mazda is better at developing and engineering sportiness in their products, while Toyota has world-beating production efficiency and better understands manufacturing.

Scion iA 4

But the most obvious result of their partnership is this Scion iA. From the front it may not be as obvious as to what the car is, but Scion is a company that is notorious for rebadging products in order to appeal to a hipper, younger, newer market segment. Their cars so far have been minor successes with small cult followings, especially the FR-S (Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ), but they are hoping that the new iA attracts even more customers.

Scion iA 2

From the rear, we can see that this is clearly a Mazda 2 sedan. That’s not a bad thing, because we love the Mazda 2 in all it’s shapes and forms. In North America, Mazda does not produce or sell a Mazda 2 sedan variant, so the iA does not compete against itself, and Mazda is fine with this. It’s interesting that press materials emphasis that this is hatch-less, as the North American market shares that sentiment with our market.

Scion iA 3

Powertrain options are limited to the 1.5 litre SKYACTIV petrol motor for now, but there’s no word if the diesel variants will be introduced there. Whatever it is, it will be interesting to see how the market takes to this compact sedan. So far Yaris Sedan (Vios) sales in America haven’t been fantastic, but perhaps this kitted up Mazda 2 sedan may be just the thing. Expect to see some Mazda 2 owners adopt the bumpers and styling for their cars in the coming years, because it sure as hell looks a lot more aggressive.

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