Text: Anton Andres / Photos: Brent Co, Manufacturer press | posted February 04, 2016 08:13
Low sales prompt Toyota to 'transition' Scion into parent brand
Scion, Toyota's "youth oriented" brand in the US, has been discontinued by its parent company. The company was founded in 2003 with the long term goal to appeal to Generation Y buyers.
The initial lineup in 2002 was the xA and the xB (also known as the Toyota Bb), followed by the tC the following year. Scion expanded to Canada in 2010, but sales dwindled when the economic crisis hit. Before the crisis, Scion was selling well over 100,000 cars per year but by the new decade, sales were barely reaching the six digit mark. In 2015, Scion only sold 56,167 units, a big drop from its best-selling year figure of over 170,000 cars the last year. In comparison, Toyota sold 429,355 Camrys in the US alone in 2015.
"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.
Despite dwindling sales as early as the start of the decade, the company tried to liven up the brand by turning the US and Canadian Toyota 86's into Scions. The hotly anticipated rear wheel drive coupe initially saw a lot of buyers in 2012 but eventually thinned out as the years went by. FR-S sales dived 25% in 2015 when compared to 2014's figures.
The current lineup consists of the aforementioned FR-S, tC and iQ. In addition, Scion got a breath of fresh air with the launch of the new iA and iM during the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show as 2015 models, showing that there was still life in the brand. Scion showed further promise when they displayed the CH-R concept at last November's Los Angeles Auto Show. However, Toyota decided to drop the brand this month.
Scion vehicles (MY17) will be rebadged as Toyotas starting August 2016. The FR-S sports car, iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback will become part of the Toyota family. The tC sports coupe will have a final release series edition and end production in August 2016. The C-HR concept (also as a Toyota), which recently debuted at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, will be a part of the Toyota line-up.
To assure customers of continued support, the Japanese automaker said that servicing and repairs for Scion vehicles will be handled by the Toyota dealerships' service departments.
“Scion has had some amazing products over the years and our current vehicles are packed with premium features at value prices,” said Andrew Gilleland, Scion vice president. “It’s been a great run and I’m proud that the spirit of Scion will live on through the knowledge and products soon to be available through the Toyota network.”