Scion has put an indefinite hold on plans to launch the new iQ minicar, putting the blame on the ongoing shortage of Japanese-made parts.
The iQ, sold in Europe under the Toyota brand, will be one of the smallest products on U.S. roads once it finally reaches production. The Scion brand had hoped it would be able to take advantage of mounting concerns about rising fuel prices – but the launch was caught up by another major event that has shaken the global auto industry.
Toyota’s home market plants lost a full month of production – equivalent to more than 250,000 vehicles — after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and the subsequent nuclear crisis. Meanwhile, with a number of key suppliers still out of action, the maker and its various divisions have only been able to resume production in Japan at half speed. And until June 3rd, North American plants will operate at barely a third of their capacity.
So, acknowledged Scion General Manager Jack Hollis, “The iQ launch will be later than we originally planned.”