Toyota Kills Scion, Will Absorb Cars
Toyota killed off the Scion brand today saying it will absorb the current lineup into its existing Toyota brand. This move comes after months of poor sales results for the 13-year-old brand.
The surprise news means the end for the “laboratory to explore new products and processes to attract youth customers,” according to a press release. Toyota went on to point out all the successes of the brand with more than a million cars sold and the numerous executives who got their start with the brand including Jim Lentz, Toyota’s CEO, Toyota Motor North America.
“This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota. Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network,” said Jim Lentz, founding vice president of Scion and now CEO, Toyota Motor North America. “I was there when we established Scion and our goal was to make Toyota and our dealers stronger by learning how to better attract and engage young customers. I’m very proud because that’s exactly what we have accomplished.
“We could not have achieved the success we have had without the incredible support of Scion’s customers, dealers and team members, so supporting them throughout this transition process will be one of our top priorities,” said Lentz.
Toyota claims the move is just a response to changing consumer demand for products that look good, but are also more practical. With the new design changes undergoing current Toyota vehicles, the edgy Scion brand just didn’t have a place.
Another driving factor has to be the overall sales. They dipped to a low of 45,678 in 2010, compared to the high of more than 170,000 in model year 2006. With so few vehicles sold and overall demand slipping, it is a clear business decision to move on.
As far as the vehicles, Toyota says they will incorporate all the current Scion lineup (with Toyota badging in model year 2017) except the tC sports coupe which will end production this year.
Our guess is the iM will eventually go out and they will simply offer a hatchback for the Corolla. The iA may go away completely after their agreement with Mazda comes to an end (they share the suspension with the Mazda 3). The cubey xB is also slated to be dropped as announced last year. About the only vehicle we see being really carried over will be the FR-S which has some name recognition among younger buyers and the overall consumer market.
Dropping this brand makes a lot of sense on all fronts with dealers being more streamlined, less consumer confusion and less money spent on R&D for the vehicles.
Editor’s note: In the coming days, we will have a review of the Scion iA and Scion iM. These reviews will both reinforce why the brand was dropped.
Filed Under: Auto News