NEW YORK – Despite its wild appearance and way-out features, some elements of the Scion Fuse coupe concept are production-feasible, Scion Vice President Mark Templin says.
“Some of it is kind of out there, but I think a lot of the concept you see, especially the tailgate; those are things that could easily be done,” Templin says here the New York auto show following the car’s unveiling.
The more far-out elements include color-changing headlights, butterfly doors and the rear pop-out tailgate, which opens into a bench with the sweep of a foot over a sensor embedded in the vehicle’s rear bumper.
Templin says the Fuse is one of many coupe concepts Scion is looking at for inspiration for the next-generation tC.
The tC is Scion’s best-selling model, with 74,415 units sold in 2005 and 16,223 through March, outselling the boxy xB and compact xA.
As he told Ward's in January, Templin says Scion is not looking to grow its annual volume much beyond last year’s 156,485 units, noting 160,000 is the target for 2006.
To expand its appeal to buyers who enjoy accessorizing their vehicles, Scion is increasing the number of aftermarket parts it offers at its dealerships next month – from 40 to more than 150 – via a new program called “Optimize.”
“In the tuner world, there are a lot of cool brands that people love,” Templin says. “And we embrace those other cool brands, so we’re partnering with those cool brands to sell some of their things through our dealers.”
Scion earlier this year began sales of a supercharger for the tC with manual gearbox. A supercharger now is available for tCs with an automatic transmission.
“It opens up the market to a much larger (audience),” Templin says of the latest supercharger. “We did some tuning on it for the automatic to make it appropriate because we saw there was enough demand for it.”
As for a possible fourth model, Templin says, “Personally, I’d like that. Four would be a great number.”
However, he says a fourth Scion model is not “on the books” at this time, adding it would not help grow Scion’s annual volume.