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Christopher Bruce2012-05-02 12:11:31

Scion Transitioning into a More Normal Automaker

Scion introduced two models this year. The FR-S is the brand's first real sports car.

Launched in 2002, Toyota's North American Scion brand was meant to bring new, younger buyers to the Toyota brand. The cars had quirky styling but were inexpensive and had good fuel economy. 

After a nine month study of the brand, Toyota has decided to change its direction and make Scion a more normal car company. The styling will be less wild, and the cars will project good fuel economy and handling at a fair price. Basically, Toyota has declared its experiment a failure, despite strong sales early on. 

Scion will still aim its cars at younger buyers. When Scion researched its buyers' average age in 2004, it was 35. It says that the average age of buyers pre-ordering the FR-SFR-S Gen.1Scion FR-S Gen.1, 2011 > present7 versions
48 photos
sports coupe is 34. That car will not be available in the US until May. It is hoping to find similar popularity with the that will launch in the US later this summer. 

The initial concept for the brand also said that the styling would be changed every three or four years, which is roughly half as long as most normal cars. The two initial models, the XaxAScion xAJapan, 2003 > 20062 versions
4 photos
and xBxBScion xBJapan, 2003 > 20062 series
8 versions
25 photos
, were based on the Toyota VitzVitzToyota VitzJapan, 1999 > 20052 series
9 versions
7 photos
to keep prices down. The idea of short model lives only lasted for the first generation of the Xa and Xb, though. The Xa was replaced by the XdxDScion xDJapan, 2007 > present2 versions
4 photos
in 2007, and the Xb got a second generation in 2007 as well. Both cars are still in production, for now. 

The iQ is the brand's other new model for this summer that is meant to be an efficient, urban vehicle

The iQ is the brand's other new model for this summer that is meant to be an efficient, urban vehicle

© photo courtesy of: Scion

The xB might not get a redesign for a third generation due to low sales. The first generation of the xB hit a sales high of 61,306 units in 2006, but the second generation struggled to find sales. Scion sold 17,017 of them in 2011. 

"We may not replace the xB by name, one-for-one. The first generation, we needed the box. The second generation, we still liked the box, but we started looking for things that would stand out like the box. No one is saying [the next one] has to be a box,"  said Scion Vice President Jack Hollis.

The xD that replaced the xA is doing even wore. The xA sold a high of 28,033 cars in 2005. The xD managed a high of 27,665 in 2007 but sold 9,573 cars in 2011. 

Hopefully, Scion is learning what it needs to do to be a youth brand. The initial success showed the merits of the idea, but as the cars grew, sales fell. From pre-order numbers, it appears that the FR-S has hit the youth market perfectly, but what else can Scion do? A small, car-based pickup truck could be a success for the brand given the sales of the xB. 

The small, inexpensive car market has changed significantly since Scion launched in 2002. Mini came to the US at the same time, and since then, the US has got the FiestaFiesta Gen.6Ford Fiesta Gen.6United States of America, 2008 > 2017210 versions
299 photos
, SonicSonicChevrolet SonicUnited States of America, 2011 > present38 versions
42 photos
, VelosterVelosterHyundai VelosterRepublic of Korea, 2011 > present22 versions
81 photos
, FitFit Gen.2Honda Fit Gen.2Japan, 2008 > present6 versions
14 photos
and Toyota's own Prius CPrius cToyota Prius cJapan, 2012 > present9 photos
. To succeed in the crowded small car market in the US, Scion has to have legitimately good cars, or it will continue to flounder. 



Is Scion actually sold anywhere else but the US?
01.05.2012 @ 12:27
Canada since early 2010.
01.05.2012 @ 15:23


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