Ask The Best And Brightest: Can These Two Cars Save Scion?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
ask the best and brightest can these two cars save scion

Scion brand manager Jack Hollis tells the WSJ [sub] that

The sales are nowhere where they should be and they will never be this low again

And with only 29,672 units sold through 2010, he ain’t kidding either (well, except for maybe the last part). Meanwhile, with the Yen headed up, profits on Scion’s small, Japanese-built offerings aren’t in great shape either. In short, it is with good reason that Scion is the subject of the most-recent TTAC Deathwatch. Meanwhile, Scion’s bid for renewed relevance hangs on the success of two cars: the neo-Corolla Coupe tC, and the A-Segment Scion iQ three-seater. TTAC will have an early review of the tC before the end of the week, but before we get into the specifics of that vehicle, let’s ponder the wider question of Scion’s viability. Will these two cars bring back Scion’s sales to their previous levels? Let’s take a look at Scion’s historical sales for answers…

As the graph above proves, a popular tC model alone is theoretically capable of doubling Scion’s 2010 sales levels… as long as it’s as popular as its predecessor. On the other hand, Scion now has a lot more competition than it once did, from models like the Honda CR-Z, Nissan’s Cube and Kia’s Soul. And, as the latest iteration of the xB shows, if Scion doesn’t get its new models right, it sees little to no sales bump. Meanwhile, the iQ has little precedent in the US market, outside of the highly disappointing Smart experiment.

In short, the tC might be able to keep the brand above water before a spiritual successor to the Mk.1 xB arrives in the form of a Scionized Verso S. Even then though, a return to 100k+ annual sales for the brand seems unlikely. If gas prices take off, the iQ could make a splash, and Toyota’s small car brand experiment could be back in business, but it’s hard to recommend that Toyota spend any more money keeping its “youth brand” alive. If these cars have a shot at sales success, they’re just as likely to achieve it as Toyotas rather than Scions. Still, we’ve been wrong before… do you reckon these forthcoming Scions can move the needle?

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  • Obbop Obbop on Sep 15, 2010

    Make the Xb longer and taller so the future homeless have a place to dwell and slash the cos to the bone and market it as a future dwelling place for those riding the ever-downward economy downwards as they keep pace with the economic end of the USA. I remain convinced the "end" is inevitable for a large portion of the USA population. Of course, it will be hard for a new smaller vehicle to compete with a used cargo-type van that offers max living space. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures and Scion may have to become creative to at least make one model successful. I wonder which manufacturer will be the first to actually include in their marketing that a model can be used as an abode for those who lose their tradition dwelling-type?

  • Slance66 Slance66 on Sep 16, 2010

    Wasn't the point of Scion to drive down the average age demographic of Toyota buyers? Where is the equivalent of a Civic-R hatch. That's what they need. Nothing Toyota makes is exciting, except an outrageous supercar. They needs some spice at the lower end, not a Smart clone. I've never seen anyone under 50 driving a Smart. Young people have friends to cart around.

  • ToolGuy If I were Jeep, I would offer a version with better NVH and charge more for it.And then I would offer a version with worse NVH, and charge more for it. (There is an audience for both.)
  • Szi65724742 Not saying dude's not a douche, but Google Maps doesn't show a stop sign at any of the three Walmarts dumping onto 60 - there's a stop-line at best. And while you nerd-rage at a random dude in a truck, a similar thing happens ALL. THE. TIME here - get Prius'd and Tesla'd every single day. I got hit while stopped at a stoplight. 7:30am, sunny morning, clear, straight sightlines for a couple miles. Was a loaded down work van. I don't rage and yell to get those off the streets. Blame the drivers, not the vehicles.
  • AMcA This, from the same regulatory agency that mandates the two adjacent outboard and center rear seat buckles be incompatible, so that the impatient passenger who hits the wrong buckle the first time simply gives up. You oughta watch my husband in the back of a cab. Every time he tries to put the outboard belt into the center buckle. The belt and buckle are incompatible and won't latch. He says "godamn [insert vehicle brand]" and stays unbelted.
  • VoGhost Twenty comments, but none acknowledging that the 'Elon promised me a $35K car!' propaganda can end now. But then, accountability was never a strong suit of the anti-America crowd.
  • AMcA Old school VW HVAC controls were impossible. On Beetles and Type 2s, there were two little levers down on the floor next to the hand brake. No labels or anything, you had to know what they did. One got you more heat, one could direct it on the windshield or the floor or shut off the flow entirely. All operation was done by trial and error. Defrosting was almost impossible to get right in a hurry.