Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

NEW YORK – Toyota Motor Corp.’s Scion Hako Coupe Concept car unveiled at the auto show here is a box-shaped coupe targeting young men between the ages of 18 and 35.

In introducing the car, Scion Vice President Jack Hollis characterizes it as a “sporty version of a box,” noting hako means box in Japanese.

Among the Hako Coupe’s exterior features are strong flared fenders and a vertical windshield, both reminiscent of classic American coupes.

Additionally, the car has a rectangular grill flanked by narrow trapezoidal light-emitting-diodes headlamps; round fog lights built into the lower bumper; small race-car type side mirrors; darkened windows; a flat panoramic roof; and deep-dish, 18-in. wheels.

The interior sports a joystick-like shifter built into the center console; two video monitor screens mounted on the dash for the car’s audio-visual system; a video monitor on each door, bringing the total to six to show images outside; easy-to-clean interior material; and front-bucket and rear-cockpit seats.

Project leader Tadao Mori says Toyota has no plans, yet, to introduce the car, calling it a “design study.” There are no engineering details available, although Mori, who works in Toyota’s Tokyo Design Div., which created the concept, says size-wise the car is similar to the Yaris.

Measuring 145.7 ins. (370 cm) long (slightly shorter than the Yaris) and 68.1 ins. (173 cm) wide (slightly wider than the Yaris), the model can seat four with a wheelbase of 94.5 ins. (240 cm).

Mori, in an interview with Ward’s, declines to comment on when and if the Hako Coupe Concept might be introduced, insisting it is premature.

Nevertheless, he confirms if management gives the green light, Toyota has the capability to engineer the car from design freeze to production in less than 12 months. A likely launch would be after 2010, with a price similar to current Scion models in the $15,000-$17,000 range.

At present, Scion’s lineup includes the tC 3-door sporty hatchback coupe, xB 5-door boxy wagon and xD 5-door hatchback.

Since launching in spring 2004, Scion has sold some 575,000 units, with sales peaking at 173,034 in 2006. Last year, with the xB undergoing a model change, sales dropped to 130,181.