Toyota has ditched the Scion brand in the U.S. after 13 years, and will from August badge all the maker’s current cars as Toyota.
Scion, which became a standalone brand in 2003, was created to target the younger buyers who eschewed the Toyota brand, with some success: the average age of a Scion buyer is 36, the youngest in the industry.
Indeed, the Scion tC, with an average buyer age of 29, has THE lowest-average age buyer in North America.
70% of Scion buyers were new to the brand and too, which is why closing Scion, um, “isn’t a step backward for Scion,” insisted Jim Lentz, the man who founded the brand and is now CEO of Toyota Motor North America.
Killing the brand looks like a little bit of a step backward to us, Jim, but no, she says. “Rather, 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.” Guess that means it’s job done and the brand can close then.
What about Scion owners?
The switch happens in August 2016: MY17 Scions will be rebadged Toyotas. Well, all except the tC sports coupe: that will have a final edition release before production ends in August.
Existing Scion owners shouldn’t worry though, says the firm. As Toyota dealers handle all the cars’ servicing and repairs, this will continue unaffected.
“We appreciate our 1,004 Scion dealers and the support they’ve given the brand,” said Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations.
“We believe our dealers have gained valuable insights and have received a strong return on their investment. During this time of transition, we will work closely with them to support this process and help communicate this change to customers.”
Scion’s 22 dedicated sales, marketing strategy and product planners won’t be out of a job either. Toyota will find new jobs for them at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and its regional repos will also take on new jobs.
“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.”
Since 2003, Scion has sold 1,092,675 cars in North America.