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CHICAGO – Although it was discontinued late last year to make room for the all-new xD subcompact, the xA could be resurrected, a Scion official says.

“I hope to come back with an xA someday,” Mark Templin, vice president-Scion, tells reporters following the debut of the new xB and xD at the auto show here.

The new ’08 xD is based on the Toyota Yaris platform, and the increase in size, power and refinement over the outgoing xA necessitated a name change, Templin says.

“That’s a completely different car than an xA,” he says. “The xA was our price leader, with a small engine and less space. This (new) car is almost identical in size, dimensionally, to the old xB. It’s got a bigger engine, bigger wheels and tires, bigger brakes and everything else.”

Templin says the No.1 complaint was that the old xA and xB were not powerful enough.

“Customers told us from the very beginning they love the products, they love what the brand stands for, ‘but give us a little more power,’” he says.

The xD has a more powerful 1.8L 4-cyl. engine than the outgoing xA, making 128 hp vs. the xA’s 103-hp 1.5L 4-cyl.

The xB is on an all-new platform that Paul Williamsen, curriculum development manager for the University of Toyota, says is not “yet” shared with any other Toyota vehicle worldwide.

He says it is most similar in size to the platform underpinning the new Toyota Corolla in Europe.

Jim Press, president-Toyota Motor North America, says the increase in size of the xD’s engine vs. the xA barely affects fuel economy due to various fuel-sipping technologies applied to the engine, such as dual variable valve timing.

Williamsen says Scion had to fight to get a bigger engine in the new xB, as the platform originally was designed to accommodate engines only up to 2L in displacement.

With the 2.4L 4-cyl. from the tC sport coupe, the xB now makes 158 hp. Buyers also can select the optional supercharger from the tC, which boosts peak horsepower 25%, Templin says.

While the engines are new, the transmissions are not, with the exception of a manual-shift mode in the optional 4-speed automatic. Scion decided to stick with a 4-speed vs. stepping up to a 5-speed largely based on cost.

“We’re reaching a young audience, and cost is a factor important in their purchasing decisions,” Templin says, noting the median age of Scion buyers is 30 and 80% are new to Toyota brands.

The new Scion xB goes on sale in the U.S. in April, while the all-new ’08 xD arrives at U.S. Scion dealers in August.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com