Scion: The Brand With No Purpose

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
scion the brand with no purpose

“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.

Join the conversation
2 of 34 comments
  • Laoh Laoh on Jan 20, 2010

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

  • TY3 TY3 on Feb 15, 2011

    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 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.

  • Zerofoo I learned a long time ago to never buy a heavily modified vehicle. Far too many people lack the necessary mechanical engineering skills to know when they've screwed something up.
  • Zerofoo I was part of this industry during my college years. We built many, many cars for "street pharmacists" that sounded like this.Excessive car audio systems are kind of like 800 HP engines. Completely unnecessary, but a hell of a lot of fun.
  • DedBull In it to win it!
  • Wolfwagen IIRC I remember reading somewhere that the Porsche Cayenne was supposed to have a small gasoline-powered block heater. There was a loop in the cooling system that ran to the heater and when the temperature got to a certain point (0°C)the vehicle's control unit would activate the heater. I dont know if this was a concept or if it ever made it into production.
  • Jeffro As I sit here this morning with my 2 day old TRD OFF ROAD 4RUNNER tucked safely away in the garage, my head spins with this weird desire to locate a 85 LTD equipped with the epic 😵‍💫2.3 and the FOUR ON THE FLOOR. THE HOLY GRAIL. Ying and yang baby!The search begins.