Will we someday see luxurious Scions dotting America's downtowns?
Toyota's chief U.S. sales guru says it's not too far-fetched an idea. He predicts that as the rebirth of big city downtowns continues, young, loft-dwelling adventurers will demand cars that are small yet chic.
Jim Lentz, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said that in about 300 cities from Charlotte, N.C., to Detroit, a "reurbanization" is taking place that could shift the car-buying market.
"It's really an influx of younger people, Gen X and Gen Y, that want to get closer to where the action is," Lentz said. "They want to get closer to entertainment, they want to get closer to restaurants and sporting events, and they're moving into these downtown lofts.
"That's going to have an impact, in time, on the type of vehicles people are going to drive; it's going to have an impact on whether or not electric vehicles or additional hybrids become much bigger in the marketplace."
Right now, the top choice for the new urban set is the BMW 3 series, Lentz said. "These are premium small vehicles that people want. They're not going to Smart vehicles."
Does it mean a teeny-weeny Lexus would fit the bill?
Lentz isn't saying, but he does note that since Toyota created Scion to appeal to the young and urban, "it would make sense, if you're going to bring in some smaller premium cars, to look at Scion."