Toyota Motor Corp. names its new youth division “Scion,” created to attract younger buyers to the brand in the U.S., which already has a heavy baby-boomer following but lags behind rival Honda Motor Co. Ltd. in drawing so-called “Millenials,” those born after 1982.

Scion, which was to be unveiled in late March at the New York Auto Show, will be Toyota's third independent sales moniker for a group of vehicles in the U.S., joining the Toyota and Lexus nameplates.

Cars carrying the Scion badge are expected to hit the market in the next three to four years. Models are expected to be small, stylish and relatively inexpensive. An early possibility to bear the Scion badge is a small car that debuted as the “ist” at last year's Tokyo Motor Show.

The new brand reportedly will be made available to Toyota's current dealer base, although there also will be a heavy emphasis on Internet sales. Toyota already sells its Prius electric-gasoline hybrid small car over the Web.

Scion is an outgrowth of Toyota's Genesis project, a youth marketing group initiated in 1999 that produced the Echo, MR-2 and revamped Celica. The Genesis name, originally coined for internal use, was dropped as a candidate for the new brand because of possible religious connotations, officials say.

The Matrix, also directed at the youth market, would have been under the new brand if Scion had bowed before the vehicle, Toyota says.

Honda, which has attracted droves of young fans, especially to the Civic (a tuner-market favorite), says it has no plans to follow suit by creating a new division, but a spokesman says it has “several things in the fire.”