Honda To Take On Scion With New Brand

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman

If I were Toyota, I'd be shaking in my boots right about now. Sure, Scion seemed like a good idea few years back when ToMoCo realized its buyers' median age was seeping into Buick territory. Being charitable, one could call Toyota's youth brand an interesting experiment. Being honest, Scion is schizophrenic. And the kids ain't buying. And now they have some soon-to-be serious competition. Autoweek is reporting that Honda is launching a new "sub-brand" called Li Nian, which apparently means "subject" in Chinese. You're looking at an unnamed concept built off the global City/Fit platform in conjunction with Honda's Chinese partner Guangzhou Honda. The new brand will launch first in emerging markets (China, India) before eventually showing-up here in the States. Getting back to Toyota being frightened — kids might actually enjoy driving a sporty, inexpensive Fit-derivative– as opposed to a de-contented, lousy to drive Corolla hand-me-down. Li Nians should start rolling into dealerships near the guy that took your job in 2010. [There's that date again…]

Jonny Lieberman
Jonny Lieberman

Cleanup driver for Team Black Metal V8olvo.

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  • TriShield TriShield on Apr 21, 2008

    Scion lost it's way as soon as Toyota decided to stop importing their funky, quirky, very Japanese JDM vehicles to the US for it. That's what set the brand apart and it was instantly lost when Toyota Americanized and supersized the xB. The other Scion products simply aren't that good or exciting. Toyota needs to get back to what they started out doing or simply cull the brand. I don't really think either company needs a "youth" brand to sell to high school and college students, they need to produce cars that are attractive to them which is the key.

  • Marc Marc on Apr 21, 2008

    Most of the responses here demonstrate what is wrong with the newsmedia and blogoshpere today. You hear something repeated enough times and you think it is true. Like the rumor that Scion sells only to little old ladies in Florida, when in fact it has the lowest average age in the industry. Now the newest misinformation that keeps being repeated is that Scion is tanking because they had a few down months. Of course, every other brand is selling remarkably well right now, huh. The xB sales have been up by double digits for the past 5 months. The xD is now selling at the same rate as the old xA. Only the aging tC is down, and even that is only by 20-30%, common for aging sporty coupes. Scion had a down year last year because 2 of its 3 models were replaced, leading to months of inventory depletion. Those days are over. The new Scions are everywhere. The recent lowered sales had more to do with Toyota's odd strategy of doing two model changeovers simultaneously. Toyota would be wise not to schedule model changeovers so closely in the future. They need to leave some product on the lots.

  • Casper00 Casper00 on Apr 21, 2008

    "crakers" you're right on the money......

  • Jason Moy Jason Moy on Apr 21, 2008

    Scion is dumb, just sell those cars as Toyotas, since they've been "mainstreamed-up" anywayz. Better yet, start importing real JDM-only cars and keep the Toyota badges on them! If Toyota/Honda want young buyers, then build attractive sporty cars that are no-frills, but have the style and engine/suspension engineering youths expect. Build cars to aspire to. For Toyota, start with a new "AE-86", Celica, MR2, and/or Supra (No Lexus please). The AE-86 and Celica coupes would be attainable for youngsters, while the Supra would be a car to aspire to when they grow up big and all!