More stories related to Chicago Auto ShowCHICAGO – Toyota Motor Corp.’s youth-oriented Scion brand plans to make a fresh set of waves at the New York International Auto Show in March, debuting the next big thing for the auto maker’s hot little brand.

Scion Vice President Jim Farley tells Ward’s here, on the sidelines of the Chicago Auto Show, of plans to reveal a product in New York indicating the direction for the next Scion vehicle. He declines to say whether it will be a concept car, sketch or otherwise.

A spokeswoman confirms a New York announcement is imminent.

Farley does not provide a timetable for the next Scion. Nor will he say whether it replaces an existing model – such as the under-performing xA compact car – or is a fourth model for the brand.

If product planners stick to prior plans given to Ward’s in June, a fourth Scion is not due until 2007, at the earliest.(See related story: Scion Mulls Fourth Model)

Scion may attempt run at rally-inspired WRX.

Because Scion strives to be eclectic, the door is open to various types of future products. However, Toyota officials repeatedly have downplayed the likelihood of a traditional truck or SUV for the brand, and Farley indicates he eventually would like to see a rally-inspired car to fight the all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza WRX sedan, which is popular among performance-minded tuners. Scion will offer a supercharger for the tC coupe as a dealer installed option later in 2005 as another way of attracting the tuner crowd.

Scion may encounter additional pressure over the near-term in attracting the tuner crowd, as Honda Motor Co. Ltd. promises an ’06 Civic that is redesigned to be more relevant to younger buyers. (See related story: Honda Promises Faster, Hipper Civic)

In addition to filling the product pipeline, Farley says Scion is looking into ways to improve consumer satisfaction scores, which have been disappointingly low during the brand’s infancy. He says a better dealer experience, such as shorter waiting periods for finance approval, tops the list of must-improve areas.

jstoll@primediabusiness.com