Asymmetrical Ace                                                                                                    Vol. 5 - Mar 25, 05 


It was designed as a marketing exercise par excellence. The cars were nothing new, just re-badged versions of Japanese models. Then again, neither was the concept. GM had tried it before, and if I remember correctly, more than just once. Scion, Toyota's attempt to sell economy cars to Gen Y hipsters was nothing more than a Geo with an edge, a Saturn with spice. But unlike the aforementioned brands, Scion looks destined for long term growth. With just two original models and a limited dealer network, Scion is poised to sell 200,000 cars this year. The fresh designs continue to draw in crowds and the average income of Scion owners is a whopping $60,000. In cities like New York, Scions owners are not only accepted by trendsetter crowds that would have dismissed Echo drivers as lumpenproletariat, they are revered.  With this type of early success one might expect a sophomore slump, but with a new record label and increasing street cred, Scion looks poised to show the world it won't fade into geoblivion.

The tB2 concept released at this year's New York auto show is not only another indication that Scion will remain relevant, it's a bold manifestation of the young brands influence in the automotive design world. The car, a product of Calty Design Research and penned by Alexander Shen, was inspired by the "demados," meaning bay windows of Japan. The goal was to create a sense of space inside, like a bay window, resulting in a reverse trapezoidal body shape: wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. The concept works on all levels and displays a maturity and design flair that few expected to see from Scion. The beautifully proportioned asymmetrical design is both elegant and husky.  Upfront, the tB2 grimaces with a smug face that few cars can match.  Its lone front fog light looking like a well chewed cigar.  Both the side and back of the tB2 also carry the  theme well, with a pair of suicide doors on the left side and a lone siding door on the right.  Inside Scion designer's played off many of the same exterior design themes and asymmetry once again dominates.  From the tri-level instrument panel, with its large information ticker, to the the steering wheel and interior door saddle bags, nothing is symmetrical yet everything is exquisitely detailed and engineered.  There is little doubt that the tB2 is a rough look. I just hope some of the quirkiness of this great concept diffuse on to the production version


1. Scion t2B (exterior)
2. Scion t2B (interior)
3. Scion t2B (front)
4. Scion t2B (detail)
5. Scion t2B (side)


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