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Scion: Not moving you forward.

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Toyota not giving up on its quirky Scion

01:00 AM EST on Wednesday, December 23, 2009

By Mark Phelan

Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — What’s wrong at Scion? In a year when small cars should flourish, Toyota’s small-car brand is in the tank.

Through October, Scion’s U.S. sales have fallen a resounding 50.6 percent versus 2008 — far more than Toyota’s corporate decline of 23.2 percent, worse even than the Chrysler Group’s 38-percent freefall.

Outsiders suggest the brand created to revitalize Toyota’s stodgy image may have lost its way, but Scion plans to expand its lineup and replace its mainstay tC coupe.

Scion debuted with hoopla in 2003.

Developed by a team of young Toyota executives, Scion promised to sell a new kind of car in a new way.

The cars would be small, inexpensive and above all, cool. They’d win a new generation of buyers who dismissed Toyota as their parents’ car. Scion took guerrilla marketing corporate, teaming the appeal of indie rock bands with the engineering and sales savvy of the world’s most profitable automaker.

Scion launched with two cars: the xA, a little hatchback that never sold well, and the xB, a funky little box that quickly became the brand’s icon. It added the tC, which joined the xB as a second hit for the brand, in 2004.

Scion’s first act was a success, but it stumbled with the encore. The XD hatchback sold at about the same rate as the xA it replaced. The second-generation xB grew bigger and more powerful than the original, losing much of the first car’s hip club-goer appeal.

“Scion should be Toyota’s innovation factory — always at the cutting edge of where the auto industry is headed,” said Jim Hall, managing director of 2953 Analytics in Birmingham. “Scion should reinvent itself every five years.”

Early success may have undermined those change-the-system-from- within goals. Scion sales rose steadily, peaking at 173,034 in 2006 before beginning a three-year decline. Every automaker’s sales plummeted in 2008-09, but Scion dropped nearly 25 percent in 2007, the last of the auto industry’s boom years.

“Scion hasn’t been a standout for any product reason,” said Mike Bernacchi, a marketing professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. “There hasn’t been much innovation from Scion vehicles. It made an early splash, but hasn’t shown great legs.”

There’s a disconnect between Scion’s cars and its marketing message, said Rebecca Lindland of IHS Global Insight.

“Generation Y,” the 25- to 31-year-olds Scion targets, “doesn’t like to be patronized,” Lindland said. “You can’t force guerilla marketing onto a product that doesn’t appeal to them any more than you can give yourself a nickname.”

Scion scored some notable successes, however. The median age of Scion buyers — 47 — is second lowest among all brands, said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision, a San Diego research firm.

However, it has trended steadily older since being an industry-leading 41 in 2006, he said. The median age of all new-vehicle buyers in 2009 was 54.

Scion’s internal figures show a lower median age, and three-quarters of Scion buyers are new to Toyota Corp., said Scion Vice President Jack Hollis. “We have the youngest customers in the industry.

“Scion’s not about sales totals,” Hollis said. “It’s about getting a new type of customer.”

Scion was initially conceived to have a two- or three-vehicle lineup, but it’s going to grow.

“My goal is to expand,” Hollis said. “There’s no way to say if it will be four, five or six models. We’ve got to figure out what’s the next type of buyer we want to reach and develop vehicles for them.”

Scion’s goal was never to keep buyers for a lifetime, but to feed them into a lifetime as Toyota and Lexus owners.

“They started with a very innovative and aggressive idea,” said Stephanie Brinley of AutoPacific. “When the first vehicles were successful, they got nervous about losing sales and lost the innovation.”

Scion’s next defining moment is to come when it replaces the sporty tC in 2010.

Original Article: http://www.projo.com/projocars/content/ca_whatswithscion_12-23-09_AIGRDTQ_v7.26a4725.html

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Aaaaaaaaand toyoyo continues to fast-track GM's history:

>>"Scion promised to sell a new kind of car in a new way. The cars would be small, inexpensive and above all, cool. They’d win a new generation of buyers who dismissed Toyota as their parents’ car."<<

Saturn 2.0.

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Aaaaaaaaand toyoyo continues to fast-track GM's history:

>>"Scion promised to sell a new kind of car in a new way. The cars would be small, inexpensive and above all, cool. They’d win a new generation of buyers who dismissed Toyota as their parents’ car."<<

Saturn 2.0.

Saturn never tried to be cool..they just aimed for semi-dull, I think. :)

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Supposedly, the iQ is coming as a Scion. And Toyota has a new subcompact hybrid (baby Prius) coming. But it seems the 2nd gen xB, XD, and Yaris are all chasing the B-seg market with not much differentiation.

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I said this would happen when they launched this silly brand.

This is exactly what I've been saying for three years now...

And Scion ain't ever comin' back as a sales force to Toyotacrap motors, either...

Even Consumer Reports pans the TC now...

Chris

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Saturn was just as 'cool' as scion 'was' when it debuted. Which is to say- neither was.

But it's the wording that strikes me as amazingly similar.

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They should just kill that brand, they build hideous looking cars, the TC was the only half decent looking one. They should just keep one of those Scions, like the boxy one, and sell it as a Toyota. That gives them a competitor to the Cube and Element. Otherwise they have the Yaris and Corolla to sell boat loads of, and don't need Scion.

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They shouldn't have messed up the xB, making it bloated is a huge part of the problem. Letting the tC get stale didn't help either.

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Saturn was just as 'cool' as scion 'was' when it debuted. Which is to say- neither was.

But it's the wording that strikes me as amazingly similar.

Saturn & Scion are as different as they are alike. Scion has always done one thing above all else - try to be cool. That was not Saturn's aim.

I'm curious - how many Scion's have been sold? Saturn sold it's 1 millionth car in their 4th model year.

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^ I guess not ('cool' is pretty subjective), but both were marketed as 'something different' and 'not your father's X-brand' tho both were from mega-monster conglomerates who had no idea how to accomplish either.

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The falling sales for Scion is no surprise given the number of funky competitors and the staleness of the tC. What I find surprising is launching Scion in Canada.

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The only question here is how long Toyota will dump money into this brand before they kill it.

My guess is that this won't be the long, drawn-out, battle that Saturn was with GM. Toyota will likely try one more "re-invention" of Scion, and then throw in the towel.

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The falling sales for Scion is no surprise given the number of funky competitors and the staleness of the tC. What I find surprising is launching Scion in Canada.

What surprises me is that they weren't in Canada already. Isn't the subcompact market in Canada a bigger % of the total market there than it is in the US?

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^ I guess not ('cool' is pretty subjective), but both were marketed as 'something different' and 'not your father's X-brand' tho both were from mega-monster conglomerates who had no idea how to accomplish either.

BINGO! Give the man a cigar....

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What surprises me is that they weren't in Canada already. Isn't the subcompact market in Canada a bigger % of the total market there than it is in the US?

Your making the irrational assumption that Toyotas marketing is any more thoughtful than GM's.

SHAME ON YOU!

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Saturn & Scion are as different as they are alike. Scion has always done one thing above all else - try to be cool. That was not Saturn's aim.

I'm curious - how many Scion's have been sold? Saturn sold it's 1 millionth car in their 4th model year.

Saturn had a much more rational marketing and development concept, and much more owner loyalty.

Even here amoung the Auto-X and sporty car set, Scion doesn't have a whole lot of loyalty amoung those who own them...

Compared with Saturn, where most of the owners were pretty happy...at least when Saturn was still Saturn.

Chris

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Saturn had a much more rational marketing and development concept, and much more owner loyalty.

Even here amoung the Auto-X and sporty car set, Scion doesn't have a whole lot of loyalty amoung those who own them...

Compared with Saturn, where most of the owners were pretty happy...at least when Saturn was still Saturn.

Chris

Bingo. In the history of Saturn, the success of the product was inversely proportional to the amount of involvement of parent GM. S-Series was all Saturn, and WILDLY successful. Every product after had more & more GM involvement, and progressively lost sales and loyalty.

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The only question here is how long Toyota will dump money into this brand before they kill it.

My guess is that this won't be the long, drawn-out, battle that Saturn was with GM. Toyota will likely try one more "re-invention" of Scion, and then throw in the towel.

The fad is pretty much over. Even the kids don't like em'...

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I have a couple of friends whose parents own Scions and all are at least 50 years old (they love 'em by the way). Toyota makes boring cars, you can't put different sheet metal on a corolla platform and make it exciting. If toyota was serious, they would build a rwd genesis coupe/370z fighter for the brand.

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The Genesis Coupe competitor will be the production version of the FT-86 concept, and it will be the successor to the much beloved AE86 RWD Corolla of the late 1980s. The price will undoubtedly be higher than the Scion range. I think some of the Scion vehicles may be more successful if they were branded Toyotas rather than Scions.

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The Genesis Coupe competitor will be the production version of the FT-86 concept, and it will be the successor to the much beloved AE86 RWD Corolla of the late 1980s. The price will undoubtedly be higher than the Scion range. I think some of the Scion vehicles may be more successful if they were branded Toyotas rather than Scions.

True...though it should not be too high...

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The Genesis Coupe competitor will be the production version of the FT-86 concept, and it will be the successor to the much beloved AE86 RWD Corolla of the late 1980s. The price will undoubtedly be higher than the Scion range. I think some of the Scion vehicles may be more successful if they were branded Toyotas rather than Scions.

Has Toyota said it will be branded as a Scion? I have been following this car's development, but it seems like too little, too late.

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The concept was branded a Toyota, and I've never seen any reference to it as a possible Scion. Rumors are that the Subaru sister car will be larger, more powerful, and AWD. It is not clear what the Scion tC replacement will be, but I'd venture to guess it would be another FWD coupe.

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