By on January 15, 2010

Americans are obligated by our constitution to love weight gain and poor visibility

“Scion is pretty much a North American brand, so that is why it is very natural to think more development, more design work, should be done in North America,” Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota Motor North America tells Automotive News [sub]. In other words, fans of Scion’s first generation of JDM confections who railed against second-gen bloat are probably out of luck. Sure, model four in the Scion lineup will be the iQ minicar, which is small and weird enough to have been a member of the Scion invasion team, but after that? It’s all bloat and bigger blind spots from here on out. It’s what America wants.

Apparently the Scion tC, the only Scion product entirely designed and developed in the US, will be replaced this year. As if confirming the continued Americanization of Scion, the Camry-engined coupe is still outselling the only remaining Scion still reminiscent of the first generation, the xD. We’ve been told that the Fuse concept shown above is the basis for the new tC. Did we say something about bloat and blind spots earlier?

The decision to replace the tC this year has another implication: it means the FT-86 RWD coupe currently being developed by Toyota and Subaru almost certainly won’t be sold as a Scion (as it won’t arrive this year). And if a $25k RWD manual-transmission coupe doesn’t fit in you alleged youth brand, why the hell do you have a youth brand in the first place? Mr Inaba?

We will figure out what we need. We need to focus on more products based on the customer’s needs, what the customer wants… The important thing is to try and appeal to a younger segment. The role of Scion is to grow them into Toyota or Lexus so that has not changed…. We have to be tuned to the needs of younger customers. Connectivity is a very important issue [and] our products should take car of their interests and their needs.

That, or maybe pickups. Who knows what kids really want? Which is why I don’t think it’s too hyperbolic to say that this is highly reminiscent of the terminal brand cluelessness that defined GM for the last several decades. Toyota’s battle with “big company disease” obviously isn’t over, and it probably won’t be until it gives up on the Scion experiment.

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34 Comments on “Scion: The Brand With No Purpose...”


  • avatar
    Truckducken

    This is just the home office (Japan) washing their hands of this fiasco.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If bloat was what America wanted from Scion, then Scion would have sold more cars this past year instead of dropping like a rock.
     
    I’m afraid my 05 xB will be my first and last Scion; nothing current or future from them interests me.  Maybe I’d get a used one, but they don’t depreciate enough to make them affordable used cars.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    I bought a 1st gen xB (2006) 3 years ago for my then 16 yr. old son.  Every time I go to a Toyota/Scion dealer to buy parts (3 different dealers), someone at the dealership tells me “they should never have changed the xB.”

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      It does seem that everybody that likes/ownes the original xB hates the current model. Maybe that was Toyota’s goal since the average age of an xB driver was higher than they were shooting for. Much like Honda and the Element, the real buyers turned out to be much older than the target demographic.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Well, a Scion version of the Ft-86 might mean that dealers wouldn’t be able to do a “Market Adjustment Price” cash grab for the first five months of the car’s life.
     
    Then again, I saw “no haggle” Saturn Skys with dealer mark-ups, so maybe it wouldn’t matter.

  • avatar
    ttacfan

    You mean this is a real prototype, not some tC with photoshopped Gen2 xB ugliness?!!!

  • avatar
    sashazur

    These days I think the purpose of Scion is just to provide a replacement for the Celica in the form of the tC, as it’s the closest thing to a ‘sporty’ car that Toyota offers. The other two Scions don’t matter as much anymore; the xD is just another 4 door hatchback, and the xB has lost its ‘quirky box’ crown to the Nissan Cube.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Toyota’s bureaucracy ruined Scion.  It was supposed to be different – stylish & sporty and unique over appliance like practicality and comfort.  For the parents it needed to be cheap, safe and reliable.
     
    The one car that embodied it was the original xB – as it was edgy and kinda ugly but it made people react with polarizing opinions.  It was also cheap for the base model with many upgrades the owner could buy when they brought it in for service (creating a profit stream for the dealers).
     
    The rest of the Scions then just became more expensive and blander.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    “Kids” can’t afford new cars.

  • avatar
    tulsa_97sr5

    So is the iQ definitely coming over as a Scion?  Don’t really care which badge it gets but would love to see one in person.

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      Top Gear said hands down the Fiat 500 takes the crown in the segment.  We’ll have to see if Fiat tries to sell it here.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      Like we’re to believe everything Top Gear says? Other tests have pointed to the iQ being a superior product. But such tests are all subjective. Either way, getting both in the USA would be a boon to US customers.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    I’m glad that they’re finally redesigning the tC.  Nothing wrong with the idea of the tC, it just needs to be improved.  A $17,000 sporty coupe is a great niche to go after.  Make the interior nicer and cut the weight down.  Really, the worst thing about the tC is the people who drive it.  Manual tranny models are driven by douchebag young males who think that they know a lot about cars but who actually don’t know anything about anything, while the automatic is driven by sorority bitches.   If they made the new one nice enough, I might be able to get over it.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    If Nissan really comes through with a couple of new cars retailing around $10K, Scion can just shut their doors.  Scion, like Saturn, were supposed to be small, different, economical and reliable.  GM and Toyota might write down their goals on their office walls so they don’t forget or they will continue to go off their stated courses.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    Scion need to bring the Toyota Aygo over to North America. It can be easily sold under $10000 and fits the Scion brand well.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      You mean instead of the iQ? Over here, everything smaller than a Corolla (or Camry) gets lumped into a single “death trap tiny car” category, and there isn’t enough distance between the iQ and the Yaris to support a third entry from the Yote. Scion’s original mission was to amortize some wacky JDM stuff that was too outrageous for Toyota’s increasingly stodgy, baby boomer clientele. The they blew a wad to make a rebodied Avensis coupe, then replaced the kwaii kids with a pair of superdeformed chunkmobile imitations. Send us a Sienta or some rebadged Daihatsus, or don’t bother.

  • avatar

    I wish Toyota brought over that little car with the sliding door. I know that they exist, I sat in one (they didn’t let me drive it though). But apparently, iQ is not it. But it was a normal wide car, not kei-car.

    (update: Apparently it was Toyota Porte.)

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Yoshi Inaba obviously isn’t paying attention.  The point of Scion is to offer something cool —  for god’s sake, ANYTHING other than yet another repackaged mom-mobile, which is basically the entire rest of Toyota’s lineup (well, except for the Avalon which is the mom-in-law-from-Boca-mobile).

    So — what allows you to use the words “cool” and “Toyota” in the same sentence?  Answer:  JDM.  How do we know?  Look at what turns on Japanese car collectors/restorers/customizers/tuners on the west coast.  They will go absolute bonkers over anything JDM or that at least makes their car look JDM.  Scion’s early success stemmed from NOT being another North American committee-designed Toyota.

    Still further evidence that Toyota has been infected with the GM virus . . .

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’d like to congratulate  Scion for stealing the coveted Gremlin-inspired-design crown from Honda’s CR-Z.
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/why-the-honda-cr-z-is-so-ugly-and-should-never-have-been-built/

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    The really funny thing about Scion isn’t that if failed with the youth market, but that it’s been pretty successful with old people.  Especially the xB.

    Whether Toyota made a mistake with Scion depends on dealership law.  Is Scion a separate brand with regard to the oppressive state dealership laws that interfere with freedom to contract between the dealer and manufacturer?  Or is a Scion xB really just a Toyota Scion xB, so that Toyota can close up the whole Scion brand at no cost?

    If so then Scion was an interesting experiment that undoubtedly earned some marginal sales for Toyota among the middle-aged and elderly.

    Regarding the FT-86, if Toyota has the balls to sell the FT-86 as a Corolla GT-S in the US that would justify the Toyota badge instead of a Scion badge.

  • avatar

    Scion is a silly brand with no purpose. Toyota could do much better simply selling the original JDM vehicles under its own nameplate.
    Re: pickups. The Tacoma already sells well with younger consumers and has a rep for off-road capability and fun. Anything Scion tried to do to the pickup market to “young” it up is doomed to fail. The compact truck market needs a smaller, lighter entry but the unibody A-BAT design concept that would undoubtedly be used will not work at all.
    Give it up Toyota. Scion is a failure.

  • avatar

    Toyota is getting bogged down in too many brands.  When I was in Tokyo the last few weeks, I drove by several “Corolla” branded dealerships, usually right next to or in the same building as a Lexus dealership. Looks like they are testing a separate Corolla brand.

  • avatar
    powerblue

    Everybody loves to go after Scion and Toyota on how Scion was such a huge disaster for Toyota but I don’t agree. Sure the last year or two for Scion hasn’t been the greatest and Toyota in general as a company has had some slip ups lately but if anyone has taken a look around its not the best time to be in the auto business in the United States and when you under pressure to stay in the lead as a company and deliver quality vehicles at the lowest price possible corners are going to be cut. Scion has accomplished its goals and it has achieved what it originally set out to do which was to target a younger buyer by making some unique vehicles. The average buyer of a Scion is 39 years old which is the lowest in the industry so that goal was accomplished. As for this annoying as hell ranting against the new Scion xB just get over yourselves. The new xB is still a box of a car and by no means did they ruin the amazing things the car had to offer such as cabin space. The new Scion has improved upon the old one by offering a more substantial vehicle with features such as electronic stability control, side curtain air bags, cruise control, a 2.4 4 Cyl engine, and a more comfortable interior. Toyota wasn’t dumb in their decision to make the Scion xB bigger and cost more because HELLO the typical Scion customer is 39 and paying a couple more thousand is no big deal to them when they are getting all the features in a Camry for $3,000 less. And then saying that the Nissan Cube is the new xB is total bull shit. The Cube is as ugly as hell, its not a cube its a submarine and with that CVT its anything but fun to drive it feels like a underpowered slug. The Scion brand didn’t fail to achieve what it set out to do but now here we are in 2010 and the auto market isn’t the same landscape as it was in 2004 and Toyota has got their hands full with problems and their budgets smaller than ever and Scion really isn’t a priority anymore. With time, energy, and money Scion could get back into the big game but who has any of those things these days and the current Scion lineup is better geared to sell vehicles than any of GM’s previous brands. Lets not compare Scion cars to Saturns because unlike GM many of Toyota’s vehicles are STILL very well built.

    • 0 avatar
      laoh

      By your reasoning, as long as you have all the safety features and creature comfort, ppl will like the car enough to buy. Let’s take a Pontiac Aztek with all of these features and sell it as a Scion. Do you think that would sell with a car that is a fat, ugly pig? Oh wait, they’re already doing that with the current xB.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    All of these articles (and comments) lamenting the point of Scion forget a pretty critical piece of information:  the original experiment was a success.
     
    I know we all think it’s hysterically funny when we see an 85-year-old driving a gen-1 xB, but the last dealer-posted figures during the run of the Gen 1 xA and xB was a median purchase age of 35.  That’s good for the industry, and outstanding for Toyota.  It drives me insane that I can’t find the source for that figure (ScionLife lost half their posts in the redesign) but it’s a pretty important piece of information.  Even if it wasn’t the 18-22 they were hoping for, the original Scions still sold like meth at a dance club.
     
    Mind you, it’s still irrelevant if Scion can’t figure out what appeals to young people.  I was 25 when I bought my xB1, for three reasons: it was cheap, it was reliable, and it  weird enough to make Baby Boomers angry and confused.
     
    seems like an easy-enough formula to follow…

  • avatar
    laoh

    Ugh, this car looks like a Dodge Charger hearse with a scion badge.

  • avatar
    TY3

    Hey everyone, I am in a product design class at my highschool where I am working with the local scion/ toyota dealership to create a new scion. I myself am within theyre 18- 24 year old market and I have no desire to purchase a scion. so I wanted to ask you fans, and haters what exactly you are looking for in a scion.

    Currently we are planning on having our vehicle use an FT-86 Chassis with AWD, and try and keep the vehicle as light as possible to increase the fuel range to 50 MPG or higher. This will also limit the “cool” boxy shapes into something more streamline. And correct me if im wrong, but hybrids arent cool. light weight and good aerodynamics is just as, or more fuel efficient than a hybrid.

    For propulsion, we are concidering a 1.8L 4 Cyl DOHC Toyota ZZ engine layout using vapor technology to increase horsepower and fuel efficiency, without adding as much weight as a V6, If you dont know what Vapor technology is, I urge you to check out http://schou.dk/hvce/ it is very interesting. looking at the specs of the engines that use Vapor technology, we are expecting to get arround 220 HP or more from the ZZ engine with (depending on body design) 45-60 MPG. Yes I know you can ger more HP from a turbo or supercharger, but thats not gas friendly, we need MPG.
    If you like these ideas for the scion brand let me know, and any other input would be helpful.


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