Toyota discontinues Scion after years of slumping sales

posted on February 6, 2016

Toyota is killing its Scion brand after years of slumping sales. Beginning in August, 2017 model-year Scion vehicles will be rebadged as Toyotas.

The FR-S sports car, iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback will be a part of the Toyota line-up. So will the C-HR, a small SUV concept that debuted in November, if Toyota decides to make it. The tC coupe will have a final release series edition and end production in August, according to Toyota Motor Corp.

Scion was formed in 2003 to attract younger buyers. It was known for its funky designs, like the boxy xB, and was the brand Toyota used when it wanted to experiment with new kinds of marketing, like pop-up test drives at the mall, or no-haggle pricing.

Twelve years ago, Scion was courting Generation X buyers, who didn't like their parents' brands and didn't trust traditional marketing, said Bob Carter, Toyota's senior vice president of U.S. operations. But as those buyers matured, they started buying Toyotas.

Next came the Millennials. For a while, that generation delayed car buying because they were underemployed and had too much student debt. But when they did buy, they liked their parents' brands and wanted Toyotas, too.

"For those buyers, frankly speaking, Toyota as a brand is more aspirational than Scion was," Carter said.

There were other issues. Scion's small, oddball lineup never connected with buyers and cost a bit more, since features like touchscreens that were optional on other cars came standard on Scions. Scion's best-seller, the tC coupe, starts at $21,330, or $2,600 more than a Honda Civic. Scion also doesn't have any SUVs, which are rapidly becoming the most popular style of vehicle in the U.S.

source by japantoday
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