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Toyota's Scion aims to double U.S. sales by 2017

Special 10th anniversary editions of the Toyota Motor Corp. Scion vehicles are unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in New York, March 28, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Bernie Woodall

DETROIT (Reuters) - The youth-oriented Scion brand will double U.S. sales to above 100,000 by 2017 on the strength of three new offerings, two of which go on sale in September, the head of the 12-year-old Toyota Motor Corp brand said.

In the first half of this year, Scion's U.S. sales were down 19 percent at nearly 25,000. But Doug Murtha, the brand head, said Scion, helped by the two model launches, should end this year near the 58,000 in U.S. sales it had in 2014.

The rise past 100,000 toward the brand's record of 173,000 in 2006, Murtha said, will be spurred by the first four-door models, the iA sedan and the iM hatchback, which will be at dealerships Sept. 1, and a third new vehicle to go on sale by 2017.

Earlier this year, Automotive News reported that the third new model will be a compact utility vehicle or SUV-like hatchback to debut before 2017. Murtha would not give details when he met with reporters in Detroit on Monday.

Small SUVs and crossover utility vehicles are the hottest sellers in the U.S. market while sedans have been losing ground as gasoline prices remain moderately low.

Scion's target for iA annual sales is about 35,000 to 45,000. It will compete with the Nissan Motor Co Versa, General Motors Co Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Motor Co Fiesta, and the Hyundai Motor Co Accent.

The iA will start at $17,600 for models with automatic transmission, including destination charges.

The iM, Murtha said, has a sales target of about 25,000 and models with automatic transmission will start at $20,000.

That would give Scion four models to sell by the end of this year at about 1,000 Toyota dealerships in the United States, including the existing tC coupe and the FR-S compact sports car.

Scion began in 2003 targeted to younger buyers, first in California, and it now sells in Canada and Puerto Rico in addition to the U.S. market.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Leslie Adler)