Welcome to another edition of Forum Friday. This week, the posters at the Autotalk.com forums have brought up a very interesting question regarding a certain automotive design trend. Oddly enough, this design, which was initially laughed at by many, has become a revolution in recent times. Known by many names, the most popular term for these vehicles is “the toaster cars.” This exceptionally simple design shares an appearance with the kitchen appliance as well as a box and has created vehicles like the Scion xB and the Honda Element.
Released to North America in 2003, the toaster look first was seen in the sharp angles of the Scion xB sub-compact. Shortly after, Honda released their mult-purpose “SUV” and named it the Element. Many people, including the posters in the thread of question, began arguing that the two companies simply copied each other for the design. Let us look at the facts: the Scion xB came first. It may have been seen in North America after the Element, but its design has existed since 2000. Called the Toyota bB in Japan, the toaster look was popular across the sea before the Element was even a thought. And at the end of the day, the Scion is still in production while the Element is no longer being built.
Deciding which toaster is better is like deciding which came first: the chicken or the egg. The Element may not be in production any more, but its sales figures proved it was a popular model. During its life span, approximately 325,000 units were sold while the xB has been the best selling Scion model since its debut. The last year of the first generation model, 2006, Scion sold 61,306 xBs for the selling year. That number is proof that the toaster revolution is strong and continuing to grow. In 2003 when the xB was released, annual sales figures a little less than 7,000 units.
If you have a thought as to which toaster is better or why this design is becoming popular, sign on to Autotalk.com Forums and post away.
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