Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Goodbye Scion: Toyota to Kill Scion Brand After 13 Years

Toyota has just announced that it is going to kill its Scion brand after 13 years.  The brand was originally started to attract new, younger customers, but ultimately only proved to drain Toyota’s resources.

Many of the vehicles, like the FR-S sports car, iA sedan, and iM five-door hatchback will reportedly be re-badged as Toyotas for the 2017 model year, but the tC coupe will reportedly end production.  And, the C-HR displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show will become a Toyota. 

Toyota claims that it made the decision in response to it’s customers' needs– essentially, that younger buyers not only want the styling that Scion offered, but also the practicality that Toyota offers. Moreover, in the last 13 years, Toyota’s own vehicles have gotten sportier and will likely be more appealing to younger buyers.

Scion reportedly sold more than 1,000,000 vehicles over the last 13 years, with its best year coming in 2006, when it sold 173,034 vehicles.  Since then, sales have reportedly declined steadily, with its lowest sales coming in 2010 at only 45,678, and have never recovered.

But according to Toyota, this isn’t a failure. According to Toyota CEO, and founding VP of Scion, Jim Lentz, "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...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."

According to a senior analyst with IHS Automotive, who compared Scion to GM’s failed brand Saturn, "two industry lessons to be learned from Scion are similar to those that GM should have learned from its Saturn experiment: A brand will not be successful without consistent, sustained, long-term support. Nor can it be successful on a long-term basis if its strongest differentiation is wrapped around the approach to sales and service, rather than from a vibrant product range."

I guess only time will tell how the Scion vehicles will do under the Toyota brand name.

Beth Wells

Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 12 Years Running

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