By on August 12, 2015

geo1

Imagine if you will.

The world’s largest and most consistently successful automaker is in deep trouble. Not because of profits, but because of products.

Chevrolet-Cavalier-1982They build a small car… and a small army of overseas competitors blow it away.

They build a bigger vehicle, and another, and yet another. They build so many models with so many names and variations that they wind up cannibalizing their own products. Every time this happens, they lose sales and more alarmingly, their youngest customers no longer see their products as fashionable.

Every year it gets worse. Then the corporate mothership, which has cost cut their way into the rear view mirror of most of their future customers, comes up with a brilliant marketing idea.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em — at least for right now.

That was the General Motors of the 1980s. After a mind numbing streak of marketplace losers (Chevette, Sprint, Citation, Omega, T1000, Skyhawk, Cimmaron, Sunbird), GM, under the ever watchful accounting driven gazes of its CEO, Roger Smith, decided that it was time to let imports fight imports. This fight would take place inside Chevy dealerships which were foolishly asked to market a new sub-brand that would compete with higher margin products which already represented the ‘real’ GM metal.

The new brand — Geo — was launched with a mandatory display area (usually in some God forsaken corner of the showroom) for those dealerships that wanted to carry a brand which was all about “Getting to know you.”

First they offered the Geo Prizm. This had been a Toyota in drag which had been marketed as a Chevy Nova during its pre-Geo run. Besides the annual humiliation of having GM’s highest quality plant and product be driven by Toyota know-how, the Nova had also been a sales flop despite the world-class Toyota underpinnings.

Prices were high, dealer margins were minimal, and the commercials? Like an aspiring Yuppie on speed.

The Prizm was followed by the Geo Tracker, which was a Suzuki Sidekick emblazoned with a new Geo logo that, strangely enough, had a bow-tie on the steering wheel — just in case the customers were wondering if it was a real American car, which it wasn’t.

The Geo Metro was next. Although this would turn out to be among the most popular models for gas sippers, tree huggers, rental car companies, and unrepentatnt cheapskates frugal zealots, it didn’t have as strong of a retail presence as many of today’s auto enthusiasts would imagine. The car was flimsy with a new car price to boot, and the acceleration with an automatic was just plain atrocious.

GM needed something, really anything, that would stand out. So what did they do?

They created a joint venture on a sporty coupe — with a company that had zero success in selling sporty coupes.

Sound familiar? It should for those who have followed the recent Scion FR-S. In GM’s case, the Isuzu Impulse, which even came with a Lotus tuned suspension to emphasize handling, was re-homologated into a Geo Storm.

It lasted one generation. The Prizm would last two generations as a Geo, and then would get pulverized into a fine red mist once GM pulled the plug and tried to make it a Chevy. The same with the Metro and the Tracker.

Come to think of it, nobody is quite sure what happened to the Tracker. But rumor has it that the model got eaten by a horde of obese cannibals disguised as Chevy Blazers.

This brings us to the Geo of 2015: Scion.

Like Geo, Scion was initially marketed to the young and youthful in a way that would make middle-aged and older people feel good about their ‘youthful’ purchase. Too bad the advertising was a cacophony of fake special effects and hip-hop fashionistas who apparently were told to display themselves instead of the car.

You think I’m kidding? Well this time, I’m being brutally blunt. On a press launch for the Lexus CT200h back in 2009, the marketing head for that project had also been in charge of launching the Scion brand in the United States. When I asked him why the CT200h didn’t launch as a Scion I was told, “Scion was never marketed as a brand for young people. It was intended to attract people at a specific price range.”

I immediately thought, “Well, okay. I never knew buyers in the $15,000 to $18,000 price hung around college campuses and went to death metal concerts.”

And that to me is the core part of Scion’s failure as a brand — it’s a cannibal. All cannibal sub-brands die in the car business because the core brand is too important to be seriously challenged. As sure as old four-door Geo Metros got recycled into Chinese washing machines, Scion became a poor excuse for Toyota not better supporting their Y2K-era Corolla against the compacts, and last generation Celicas against the sports coupes.

After 10 years of Toyota customers getting to know a slew of Scions, one thing is clear.

Scion only got launched because Toyota decontented their products and ignored the fact that a brand only becomes ‘boring’ when their products no longer cater to the emerging niches and interests within the industry.

Those new cars and new technologies need the Toyota brand. Scion is a mistake.

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113 Comments on “Hammer Time: Is Scion The New Geo?...”


  • avatar
    Spartan

    Short answer: Yes.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Exactly – yes.

      In one way Scion is worse as it has been horrifically neglected and is utterly tone deaf to the market. Two coupes and no SUV/CUV.

      Ya, Ya they are getting the iA and iM, but this is years past when the xB and xD should have at least gotten one update, and the iQ should have never gone to market. The FR-S is a flop and that leaves the tC as the one dim light bulb.

      At least Geo had something that resembled a “full line up”

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I always guessed that the reason the Geo brand existed was because GM had too much ego to admit they blew it by calling Chevy’s first NUMMI Corolla “Nova” and thereby alienating the Hispanic market, so they concealed the error by committing a much larger one that provided cover for renaming the Nova without admitting their original mistake.

      I have no idea whether I was right, but knowing how GM historically handled all its other problems, it always seemed the most plausible scenario to me.

      BTW, a nice thought-provoker of a column. Always enjoy your work, Steven.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Is there anything that can be done to turn it around? Or should they just absorb Scion’s cars back into the Toyota fold? I just don’t get who Scion is for. Their lineup, aside from the FR-S, is depressingly mediocre.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      If we can trust Good Car Bad Car, Scion *is* the tC and the xB. The FR-S is a distant also-ran with the xD, which I thought they had killed.

      So, if you want to fold anything in, call the tC the “Toyota Celica” (the initials practically demand it!), and then change the front clip and call the xB the “Toyota Matrix”.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        xB is retired – and it is I believe 7 years old – woefully out of date. Compare sales to the biggest direct competitor, the Kia Soul, and the xB isn’t even an also ran at this point.

        Honda abandoned this niche when they dropped the Element. You could weakly argue that the Vibe and Matrix played in this space, but I don’t see them as “box on wheels” and more closely related to the iM 5-door hatch. In my mind the Matrix/Vibe competed against the Mazda3 hatch, Civic hatch (when it existed), and the Focus 5-door.

        The only three things worth saving from Scion right now is the iA (maybe, it is getting solid reviews), the tC and the FR-S.

        Make the tC a Corolla Coupe (ya I know, it isn’t a platform mate, so what), make the FR-S a Celica, kill the existing pathetic Yaris and make the iA the Yaris, and kill the rest.

        • 0 avatar
          DearS

          Nothing wrong with the FR-S, tC, and iA being Scion, IMO. The iM needs to be dumped, they need to have a Soul competitor or a CR-V competitor. Those two markets are doing well, aim for those.

  • avatar
    Sky_Render

    The number of parallels between ’90s GM and modern Toyota are staggering. Lexus has even become the new Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      People are getting seriously carried away with this “Toyota is the new GM” meme. Yes, Toyota has serious product problems. But there’s one all-important problem they don’t have: a reputation for breaking faith with their customers through products that start falling apart the moment they leave the dealer’s lot. Toyota can solve their product problems as easily as they have in the past through one simple expedient that they’ve used in the past: plagiarizing the competitor’s top model. The emergency surgery on the current Camry, however hideous, suggests they recognize the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Krivka

        Your point on GM products falling apart is a red herring and you should know that. GM products were no better or worse than their American competition in the past and now are better. MUCH better. Want a sporty car from Toyota? Not there. Want a coupe or cabriolet? Not there. Want durability? Got it nailed, but so does GM. Recalls? All automakers have them. 2012 Ford Escape… SIX recalls on engine, two on A/C and when attempted to trade in at the Ford dealership, they wouldn’t take it because they had too many on the lot. FCA? What do they sell other than the Hemi name and the Ram truck? Get a grip on the GM issue. I have a Toyota Camry Hybrid, A Subaru Outback, M-B CLK, Chevy Malibu and the Malibu is built as well as any of them. 120k and nothing wrong except a shorted brake light switch and my daughter driving it. Everybody is entitled to their opinion though.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “Your point on GM products falling apart is a red herring and you should know that. GM products were no better or worse than their American competition in the past and now are better. MUCH better. ”

          Absolutely missing the point. Used to be that GM products didn’t compete with anything but other GM products. Foreign was a pejorative in 50 states, not just Michigan. Never mind a a Jap car, millions of people wouldn’t even look at a Ford.

          GM lost it when they built cars that were bad enough to make those buyers cross shop. Sure the malaise Fords weren’t much better but once you cross that bridge it’s a competitive market and you don’t ever go back.

          • 0 avatar
            pbxtech

            “GM lost it when they built cars that were bad enough to make those buyers cross shop.”

            This describes my defection from GM exactly. I had to be slapped around by both Chevy and then Saturn to defect. I would love a Volt too, but they have run out of second chances with me.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            My one and only GM purchases were a ’97 Saturn SL and an ’08 Astra XR 5dr/5spd. I loved both cars, especially the last. However, I watched those unfortunate to buy the horrifying first gen Vue and the incredibly bad badge swap Relay HATE their cars as they just didn’t own up to the original value of the brand.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I would disagree with GM’s current products being “much better” than their domestic rivals.

          Lambdas – no
          Thetas – no
          Malibu – no
          Cruze – no
          Colorado/Canyon – no domestic competition
          Trucks – no, but I’d buy one
          Cadillac – I guess, but they really don’t have domestic competition
          Escalade – yes
          Large SUVs – not “much better”
          Impala – no
          Buick – no

          GM has plenty of good products, but the trucks and large SUVs are still their best products. Nothing is “much better” than the competition except for the Escalade, which really doesn’t have competition.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          Not true at all. Lexus ct200 is and gs are all somewhat sporty and all miles better than anything gm puts out. Its a frakin myth that lexus isnt sporty, the es and rx arent the only lexus models. Not to mention the uz v8 is unmatched by anything lessor than the coyote from ford, including both chrysler and gm v8s. The b and b should know better.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          “Want a sporty car from Toyota? Not there. Want a coupe or cabriolet? Not there. ”

          Yeah, and while some people want sporty, the market for coupes and cabriolets is … minuscule.

          (Note also that Tony was talking about a *reputation* for breaking faith, not about current GM actual quality.

          Reputation sells cars and thus makes or kills companies.)

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          I’ll beg to differ. While domestic products have certainly improved over the past 8-10 years, they still aren’t Toyota/Honda level according to all research available.

          Two points – 1. The domestics should have never taken such advantage of the market with piss-poor products; and 2. It doesn’t matter. Except for pickup trucks and SUVS, domestics are delegated to the back seat.

          After 30+ years of Japanese products (the result of several crap domestics), we stuck our necks out and got a domestic. After 5 years, 100k miles and a disappointing experience, we’re heading back to the Toyota family soon. We work too hard for our money.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Yeah, I don’t get this line of reasoning either. Toyota isn’t losing billions a year and on its way to bankruptcy. It doesn’t have the corporate & manufacturing structural problems that ruined GMs quality and created unsustainable costs. Toyota’s entire profitability doesn’t hinge on the success of BOF SUVs whose sales collapse when fuel prices rise. They have strong sellers in a wide range of vehicle classes. Yes, the cheapening of their interiors was palpable, but the product as a whole didn’t chase a generation of customers away and they seem to be coming out of it.

        That said, I don’t understand what the reasoning is behind the Scion brand anymore. Their first stab with the original xB, xA, and tC was promising but they lost all focus afterwards.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “But there’s one all-important problem they don’t have: a reputation for breaking faith with their customers through products that start falling apart the moment they leave the dealer’s lot.”

        Really?

        I’ve been shopping compact cars, and have driven the new Corolla. In terms of quality perception, it’s WAY behind the competition in about every conceivable way. It looked and felt cheap…which is bad, but outright shocking for a Toyota.

        And it’s not just the Corolla – the Camry is better, but at the Toyota dealer I shopped, they had a new Accord on hand so customers could compare it head to head. Again, in terms of quality feel perception there was no comparison – the Honda felt FAR better built than the Toyota.

        And then you add in the uninspired drivetrains. And the cheap plastics. And the recalls.

        Toyota is COASTING, folks…and this isn’t 1985, when it was a choice between Toyota, Honda, Nissan and a pile of junk. Consumers are going to notice sooner or later. And when they do, watch out…

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          He said “falling apart the moment they leave the lot”.

          You replied with “looked and felt cheap”.

          Note that those are not the same things.

          (Also note that the dealer is almost certainly not suicidally stupid – if they keep an Accord there for comparisons, it’s because they believe most people will buy a Camry after sitting in it.

          Unless they’re – again – suicidally stupid, they’ve doubtless seen that most people who try both in their lot end up signing on a Camry.

          If they didn’t, that Accord would be gone tomorrow.

          You preferred the Accord? Very good! The Accord has a lot going for it, and while I like Toyotas I’d certainly cross-shop the Accord [and the Koreans and Ford and GM] if I was in that market…

          But it’s pretty much certain that there’s no “Toyotas are soooo cheap compared to Honda!” consensus.

          Because that Accord is still there at the Toyota dealership.)

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Oh, I think there’s a definite “Toyotas feel cheap compared to Hondas” comparison to be made…based on the fact that I’ve shopped both and to me, the difference was very plain.

            The Accord and Civic BOTH have it all over the Camry and Corolla when it comes to the perception of quality build and materials. It’s not even close.

            And it’s not just Honda – compare the Corolla to pretty much anything in its class and it just doesn’t feel as solid. I mean, when a Kia – yes, a Kia – feels more solid when you open and close the doors, hood and trunk, that’s trouble for a brand that got where it is on quality.

            It gets worse. There are certain cars in the segment – the Golf, in particular – that are in a whole different league in this regard.

            I laud Toyota for building up an incredibly loyal customer base, but that rep is based on quality, and I just don’t think the meat of their current lineup – the Camry and Corolla – justify it anymore, at least not by the way they feel. I’d encourage you to go find out for yourself.

            I stand by what I said…Toyota’s coasting. Unless you’re a fan of the brand, they offer no compelling reason to buy that other brands can’t (and this isn’t 1985 anymore – the competition isn’t rolling junkpiles like Chevettes, Escorts, Omnis or Cavaliers around anymore).

          • 0 avatar
            ccode81

            Not fan of Toyota, but thought their definition of quality is more about being functional over decades rather than how nice it looks when new.
            Seen many mk4 golf with melted soft plastics, VW’s definition of quality might be different.
            Suspicious how KIA’s door hinge ages when it has to hold heavy door made by not much high strength steel. provided by Posco
            Sure, the feather light high strength steel door on Yaris close more cheaply than my refrigerator.

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            You hit it, Sigivald, as did a couple of others here.

            There are different definitions of “quality.” I’m not talking about all of them. I’m emphatically NOT talking about tinny feel, or industrial-grade interior plastics, or a lack of any cohesive sense of style. I’m not talking about that kind of “quality.” Rather, I’m talking about “reliability.” Defect and failure rates. Period.

            What alienates a customer for life is when the car fails to do what it did when new, and then fails again and again. And when the maker then tells them to go take a walk if they don’t like it, guess what? They do. And they never come back.

            THAT’S the problem GM has. It has very little to do with their current models, although their defect rates are collectively still astronomically higher than Toyota’s. It has to do with the sour taste left in buyers’ mouths (and word of mouth) by the unreliability of the past ones.

            I agree many current Toyota models are quite unappealing. But buyers can discern that before they buy them. If they buy them anyway, evidently it doesn’t matter to them. And if enough of them don’t, that’s a problem Toyota knows how to fix simply by raising the content level back closer to its former level. They certainly know how to build them like that — they did it for a generation.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Tonycd:

            “THAT’S the problem GM has. It has very little to do with their current models, although their defect rates are collectively still astronomically higher than Toyota’s.”

            That’s the problem…define “astronomically higher.”

            These days, differences in quality are far smaller, and when you drive a car that doesn’t FEEL solid, those differences become more pronounced.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Freedmike,
            “The Accord and Civic BOTH have it all over the Camry and Corolla when it comes to the perception of quality build and materials. It’s not even close.”

            Haven’t compared Civic/Corolla but I did compare a refreshed 2015 Camry XSE V6 to a 2015 Accord V6 Touring and I can’t disagree with you more. First, most interior materials are so similar between the two it may as well be the same supplier: dash pad, headliner, hard plastics, HVAC controls, etc. Second, they both have cheap hard plastics spread throughout. I drive a Sportwagen and compared to that paragon of interior polish and bank vault doors, both the Camry and Accord have tinny, insubstantial feeling doors and trunk lids and mediocre interior materials. I saw no difference there. Third, the Accord had several obvious quality gaffes such as a badly misaligned glovebox door (the one on the showroom floor was the same) and interior door panels that flexed with surprisingly little provocation. It did not feel expensive in the least. Fourth, the Accord didn’t feel any better on the road. It was louder, no more solid, more reluctant to respond than the Camry despite having a more natural steering feel, and just rather dull. I don’t understand why this car is being touted as a more engaging and higher quality offering to the Camry. And the Entune interface kills the weird two-screen Accord setup.

            I have a pro-Toyota bias, but this all surprised me considering everything car magazines have printed and online forum commenters have written. The manual Accord Sport is a unique proposition, and maybe it’s a different story comparing a Camry LE to Accord LX, but in full zoot V6 trim the Camry was better than I thought it would be and the Accord not nearly as good.

            Tired of the Accord kool-aid.

        • 0 avatar
          Nasmir

          Interesting,since the Camry is built in the US. Accord is too for that matter.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Lexus was always Buick, just with much higher build quality. And delusions of being Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        If Lexus is Buick, the what’s up with the Avalon? Years ago it was proclaimed as Toyota out-Buicking Buick. Definitely a sign of GM-ness having a premium model that directly competes with your own brand and of the cannibalistic nature the company has taken. I also find it surprising that no one has brought up the GM-ness of Toyota surviving off it’s large range of trucks and SUVs/CUVs.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Yes a million times over. I’ll never understand why they squandered the investment, and predictable losses, of the frs halo car on Toyota’s zombie brand. This is literally Toyota’s only halo product in the states, and is priced appropriately enough to generate those losses amongst the Toyota lineup where they might actually accomplish some other good. Halo cars need to be near actual business case cars if they are going to fulfill their purpose.

    You made some great meta points about the reasons behind the brand’s creation in the first place.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Up front confession…we own a 2011 Scion tC. Wife loved the look of it and the test drive. We’re comfortably middle-aged (when we bought the car, I was 41, the wife 46). To be honest, as a Toyota, it disappoints. Coming from a family with a long, long history of Toyota ownership, the quality (or lack of) in the build has turned out to be disheartening. The interior is crap (in comparison, my son still drives a 1997 Tercel that has 220k on it with an interior that is far, far higher quality than the tC). It gets damaged if you look at it for more than two seconds and is fairly flimsy. The sunroof constantly rattles when open, and the stereo, for all of it’s speakers, sounds muddled. But it looks great in cement grey! They should have taken the time to build it right…and market it has a Celica (or Camry coupe??). Scion, as a brand, offers nothing that couldn’t be sold just as easily, if not better, at your local Toyota (or Mazda, as it turns out) dealership. Heck, sitting on a Toyota dealership with actual Toyota logos on them might make them sell better. Our local Toyota/Scion dealership carries something like two or three Scions on the lot. That’s it. There is no presence and no effort to market them. If Scion went away, I rather doubt folks would notice.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I’m sort of embarrassed to admit it, but the tC was on my short list. Thought it was a good handling hatch and with a manual. I was a bit disappointed in the interior didn’t think the seats would up. In the end it was a bit too small and the price was a bit too high.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      threer, I still love the fact that you still have that Tercel. I try to buy every good one I can find but it’s not always easy. Even here in rust-free Georgia they are becoming a historical footnote.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Steven,

        My son is a 1LT with the Air Force and a pilot, no less. The parking lot on base where he is stationed is chock full of Camaros, Mustangs and Corvettes. He gets his fair share of ribbing for driving an 18 year old car, but couldn’t care less. The Tercel (affectionately named TeeTuu) is still running the original engine, transmission and clutch. While the outside isn’t as shiny as it once was, the interior is head and shoulders above his mom’s tC. With under 100hp and a five speed, the thing gets ridiculous mileage and the A/C still blows ice-cold. I’ve told him that when he decides to finally move up to a car more in line with his pilot’s image (if ever…he is cheaper than I am) I want the Tercel back! It has singularly been the most reliable car this family has ever owned, and we bought it with 120k back in 2007!

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Maybe that’s why they’re not sold as Toyotas. They don’t meet the quality standards to wear the Toyota badge. Otherwise, Scion might just be a way to dump some extra capacity at the plant.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Fellow ’11 tC owner. In 2011, it was what they call “a lot more car” than its price-point competitors, and it was less expensive than comparably equipped competitors. It’s been inexpensive to own, surprisingly practical, and genuinely safe and reliable … So, a Toyota. I am still happy I didnt end up in a Corollivic, and hey, it even gets compliments from the girls at the car wash!

      Still, the market has truly moved on in build quality expectations. As a 30-something now, I would absolutely trade some speaker wattage and sun roof square footage for something cushier and more tightly screwed together.

      I think that’s a fair reflection of Scion in general. These are Good Cars that happen to be a decade behind the times. Nothing that Toyota couldn’t fix if it made sense to them to do so.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Maybe she should of gotten a Cougar.

  • avatar

    In before FR-S apologists who don’t understand their car would live to see a second-generation if it were badged as a Celica, ran a big Camry 4-banger as an uplevel engine, ‘fattened’ up with options people want like sunroofs, leather, and a decent-looking interior, and offered as a convertible for the old people who actually BUY cars to enjoy.

    Scion as a brand is a failure – Toyota’s second in trying to market to the youth. Remember the first crop – the Echo, Celica, and MR2? And remember when they were going to originally sell Scions in ‘spec’ trim with primer gray and no radios because ALL high school kids have the disposable income to candy-paint their cars fresh off the lot between driving shifts at Pizza Hut.

    Scion has zero brand equity anyway. Casual buyers only know Scion (if at all) for two products – the xB (referred to interchangably as ‘the Scion’) and the tC, which their daughter drives to college. They mispronounce the name all the time and the number one thing you use to close someone on a Scion you’re selling is “its a Toyota,” so why call a spade anything but a spade?

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I don’t really get how a 178hp Camry engine will help the FR-S. Especially since that’s what’s in the tC and no one thinks it’s fantastic. Though a better interior would certainly make me consider it more.

      When I bought my tC in 2004 I was disappointed that on my registration it said “Make: Toyota – Model: Scion.” It was never fixed during my ownership. I loved my car, it was exactly what I needed and I was the target age (I guess) that Scion was after. Though I never understood why they needed to make a separate brand, I still never understood the hate for it. Of course, I still never think of it as its own brand since all the cars are based on Toyotas (except the FR-S).

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        Plus the Camry engine is pretty tall and wouldn’t fit well under the Toybaru’s low hood. Replace Camry engine with tuned 2.5L H4 from the Subaru outback and then you might have something.

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    How was the Chevette a “marketplace loser” when they sold almost three million of them over a span of twelve model years? If it was so bad, even GM wouldn’t have marketed it for so long.

    And yes, Scion should die. Take the iM and FR-S, slap proper Toyota names on them (say, Corona and Celica) and be done with it.

    • 0 avatar
      kilgoretrout

      In the long term it was a marketplace loser because the design was so crude and the quality so bad that many, many of those 3 million buyers went to Toyota and Honda for the next purchase. It’s hard to remember at this distance but the difference between a Chevette and a Tercel or a Civic in 1980 was ridiculously vast.

      And the fact that GM marketed it for 12 model years nearly unchanged speaks to their contempt for entry-level cars, which handed the business to the Japanese, who cultivated a whole bunch of lifetime customers.

      • 0 avatar
        tbp0701

        I agree with Kilgore (Vonnegut!). I owned one of those three million Chevettes during and right after college, and it was horrendous. It was even worse than the Pinto I owned although not as disappointing as a continually breaking ’79 Olds Cutlass Supreme. The experience with those cars was so bad that, despite growing up in a GM/buy American family, I took my first few steady paychecks and went to a Nissan dealer. (And later Toyota, Honda and Mazda dealers). Even after several decades, whenever I think about buying a GM I have flashbacks to the Chevette and Cutlass and decide, Nope.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    It continues to baffle me why they keep tying up perfectly acceptable products in the Scion brand, where they completely languish. With a little contenting-up, they’d be perfectly acceptable Toyota vehicles. (And the styling of the current Scion’s is no longer too weird to be Toyotas.)

    I’m more-than surprised that they keep throwing new products into the brand; do they really think a replacement for the Matrix is going to revive it’s fortunes?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Corporate hubris happens at most every successful company. It’s human nature whether Eastern or Western culture. Just the number of management slots opened up by launching the alternate brand (to reward cronies and proteges) is incredibly tempting.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Is agree with the premise that Scion is a dead brand walking. I do believe though that Toyota has far more brand cache than GM ever will or did. Toyota may have inexplicably followed the GM playbook in some respects of badge engineering and sub brands etc, but their ‘poor quality’ or perhaps better said as ‘not their best effort ‘ offerings are/were still better than some of GM’s best efforts.

    full disclosure, Toyota is one of the brands that I have yet own. I have most of them (mainstream, never owned a Ferrari and don’t plan it) covered. So I can’t speak on the ownership experience, but my eyes tell me it is pretty good based on the number I see, and the comments on this board. I most likely fall into the category of person who hates himself based on th beliefs espoused here: two Chevys, 1 jeep, 1 Honda; of which the newest is an 08’.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      After owning and talking with Toyota owners I can sum up Toyota ownership like this:

      Old 80-94 Toyota: Good build quality, long lasting electronics, good mechanicals. Fairly intelligent design, very dull to drive and poor corrosion protection.

      New Toyota: Average in every way, still plodding along on drum rear brakes 4-speed autos and dated platforms. Think late 90’s GM but with a name people just eat up. On the upside they dont rust in 5 years.

      • 0 avatar
        TheAnswerIsPolara

        all of my Toyotas of the last 20 years have had 4W Disc (
        85 Celica, ’94 Camry LE, 2011 Sienna, 2012 Avalon). Dated platform? Definitely, that’s the case with the Avalon; feels like the ’94 Camry with updated controls. I count that as a good thing. The ’94 Camry was awesome in reliability and ride quality. The Avalon is, in every way, as good as the Camry (the V6 platform is just about perfect for its duties).

        The 2011 Sienna was a new generation. Absolutely abysmal quality — especially on the interior. So much hard, brittle, plastic, you’d think you’re riding in a child’s playskool car. Had to replace the driver’s door panel ($800, ouch) and the seat surround. Mechanically, it’s been as good as the others. But, nowhere near the fit and finish of the Avalon or the Camry before. Hope they get their attitude straight with their vans. Otherwise, we may have to replace it with an Odyssey.

        No issues with rust on ANY of these cars, BTW.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          “that’s the case with the Avalon; feels like the ’94 Camry with updated controls”
          Thats like saying its a good thing if a modern HD TV had same quality as a TV from ’94, the competitions moved on.

          And you’re being weirdly defensive of my silly comment, BTW

          • 0 avatar
            TheAnswerIsPolara

            not being defensive at all. Sorry you read it that way. Basic transportation hasn’t changed all that much in the last 20 years, despite what the automotive complex would lead you to believe. Horsepower is up. But, longevity isn’t. Domestic cars have gotten better. And, the Japanese cars have learned a thing or two on where to cut corners (Sienna). It adds up to pretty much a holding pattern in my book.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          So cars dont have airbags? Sensors? We still use cassette players? And Toyota still sells a caburated economy car?

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Nothing’s more pathetic than some out-of-it, middle-aged guy trying to impress his kids’ friends, and that’s exactly how a car company comes across with their attempts to appeal to the young.

    Don’t try to be the Cool Dad.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Man that base model teal Storm with those little ugly wheels was a bad example to send to Motorweek.

    Also, I was noticing that Cavalier poster, here are the approximate numbers of each type I’ve seen in life.

    Wagon: 30
    Coupe: 16
    Hatch: 0
    Sedan: 295

    I had no idea until this moment that there was an 80’s Cavalier hatch.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Before I had my license, I rode to school in the back of a teal Geo Storm GSi. The girl that lived down the street from me had it until she finished college.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Weren’t you too tall to fit back there?

        Also for fun, Cavalier promotional vids! The hatch Cavalier was alright in Z-24 trim. I might drive that around today with tints.

        http://testdrivejunkie.com/1985-chevrolet-cavalier-manufacturer-promo-video/

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Probably. But it was high school. Showing up to school with two upperclassmen girls as a freshman was never a bad look, even in a Geo Storm.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            A man come to high school correct in his own light blue 5000S.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            When you can’t drive you do the best you can. Once I could drive, you know I was rollin in a 5000.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Obligatory.

            youtube.com/watch?v=eHKZ7Fmp-I8

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I was rolling in a brand-new ’85 Olds 98 when I first got my license, in all its pimped out Broughamtastic glory. It had AM-stereo – you can’t even get that now! I was styling!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s the reason I’m ahead of the pack
            It’s the reason I left them back
            It’s the reason all the people say
            My 98 Olds blows ’em all away

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            “A man come to high school correct in his own light blue 5000S.”
            Too bad he has to take the cheese home, after rolling it back to the auto shop parking lot.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That ain’t never happen to me, but you keep stockin up on that Haterade!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The auto shop ain’t got tools to fix a 5000. You need special $hit from Germany, son.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            This is true. Everything was a special order. And my dad didn’t have many of the metric measurement tools required. That made him angry.

            “THESE -EURROPEEN- CARS!” He would say.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Ha, you find that out the next morning when the auto shop teacher rolls in, laughs, and says “You’re not getting that fixed here. Push it on home.”

            My dad had metric tools, because he owned a VW squareback and a Peugeot in the ’70s.

    • 0 avatar
      2KAgGolfTDI

      I owned an ’82 hatchback, Chevrolet called it the Cavalier Type-10. Supposedly the J-Body was the stiffest unibody GM made at the time, but that car flexed and creaked and groaned over every imperfection in the road. I called it The Cadaver.
      Good riddance to bad rubbish, and have not owned a GM car since.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        My dad didn’t buy metric sockets until he bought our 1982 Celebrity. There were a few random metric bolts under the hood. He hated it because it wasn’t “all metric” or “all English” so he needed both socket sets open to work on the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      You could get an Oldsmobile hatch too (same car as Cavalier), in person they look like big Honda CRX’s.

      They also rusted just as easily, if not worse than the CRX.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    “Gryff, that Geo Metro of yours is one easy pushing car”. “Thanks Al”.

    And wasn’t the Tracker at least a North American vehicle being built in Ingersoll Ontario?

    I would have bought an xB except Scion/Toyota did not offer anything close to the financing options available from Kia. For the same price and much less per month, we bought a Rondo instead, which also had far more content.

    Tried to get my daughter interested in an xD, which is basically a Yaris in a much more functional format (4 doors and a hatch). With all the good (reliability) and bad (poor driving dynamics) that go with a Yaris.

  • avatar
    JMII

    At this point Scion should become a trim line for a standard Toyota product. You can buy a Corolla or you can buy a Corolla Scion Edition. The real question is does Scion become the low price, stripped model offered in funky colors, or the high-end sporty version with flashy wheels and huge stereos? This is Scion’s problem in a nutshell… they just don’t what they are. Lexus has a clear purpose to differentiate themselves from Toyota’s core. Toyota needs to define Scion’s path and stick to it. In the end this path might lead to failure (appears that way already) but currently their product line is the answer to a question that nobody asked.

    GM did the same thing with Saturn and Geo, they had a good concept, then it started to struggle (for various reasons), they lost focus and attempted to correct by heading in another direction, but that move only caused confusion in the market place resulting in dead brand walking.

    So this article is spot on: Geo was GM Scion’s. A half-assed attempt to capture a new market using sub par products that never matched the original vision. The difference here is Geo wasn’t built on GM’s bones, the whole thing was outsourced (and badly). At least Scions are real Toyotas, but they are not Toyota’s best, instead they are like crumbs or left overs they never seem fully baked. Its like they tried, got close enough and then just gave up because Scion wasn’t worthy of that extra effort (for reasons unknown).

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Scion had a purpose for a while. It was the US outlet for all the wacky JDM cars that didn’t fit into Toyota’s stolid US image.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “US outlet for all the wacky JDM cars that didn’t fit into Toyota’s stolid US image.”

        Or, what Lexus also used to be, pretty much.

        • 0 avatar
          ccode81

          they have more wacky models at the lower end
          http://toyota.jp/carlineup/?ptopid=men

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Good grief in JDM the FJ Cruiser is within spitting distance of the Land Cruiser Prado (Lexus GX).

            Also, look at this turdface Alphard. Lordy, it’s luxurious! How do you even get to the back seats when the middle captains are that substantial?

            http://toyota.jp/alphard/?padid=ag001_i_carlineup_search

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Also I want a standard Crown. RideHeight, don’t look.

            http://toyota.jp/crownsedan/?padid=ag001_i_carlineup_search

          • 0 avatar
            ccode81

            Alphard, I’ll call it Japanese Suburban for the type of people buying it.
            you might be interested in wacky TRD version crown sedan as well
            http://www.toyota-ttc.co.jp/history/pdf/confort.pdf

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yaas, supercharged Crown. I’ll take an 8P8 dark purple one.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Make mine Crown Royal.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            re the Alphard: looks like the first and second-row seats have a ridiculous amount of fore-aft adjustability. If you look closely you see the floor rails.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The tc is by far the best corolla made. Just rebadge the thing as the corolla coupe and kill the rest of the brand.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Is Scion the new GEO?

    Yes.

    Now build me a two door convertible Tracker DAMN IT. Now that I’m grown up and have money they don’t exist new.

    (And don’t tell me “Wrangler” because I’m not willing to pay extra just “because Jeep.”)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Scion is the new Saturn, IMO, rather than being the new Geo.

    Compelling at first, then sort of a joke at the end. After my excellent xB1, they’ve had nothing of interest to me since 2005. But I do like the idea of no-haggle pricing, which always generates lots of debate around here.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      The xB1 to xB2 transition is the best way to sum up Scion’s problems. As a brand theoretically meant to address Toyota’s dullness problems, the xB1 was a great start – a quirky, utilitarian little car with (by my understanding) a very enthusiastic group of owners. So what does Toyota do to refine this? Fatten it up, numb it, compromise visibility, and just basically turn it into a boxy Corolla wagon. Not that there’s anything horrible about that, but they already had the Matrix, and that didn’t sell that well either.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I think Scion is a good idea. It allows Toyota to try things that don’t don’t tarnish Toyota’s name, except by the b&b here in TTAC. Working with Subaru and Mazda are two examples.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …that scion concert kind of reminds me of the morning after some spicy thai food a couple of months ago…

  • avatar
    marc

    I think there is some hubris involved, not wanting to admit Scion was a mistake, not allowing them to close shop and move on. Though with Akio heading Toyota, he could just blame the last guy and shut it down. No one would truly care.

    BUT…

    I recall an article a few months back here on TTAC, where jack or someone was trying to explain why the brown diesel stick shift wagon won’t sell. It’s because the dealers want 20 green Eddie Bauer Explorers, or something along those lines.

    If you give your Toyota dealer free reign, we’ll have a lot full of Camrys, Corollas, Siennas and RAV4s. Make the dealer open a Scion boutique, and all of a sudden he is forced to stock a few FR-Ss and xBs. Everyone says, the tC would sell better as a Celica. Well perhaps it wouldn’t sell at all, because what dealer would waste his inventory dollars even stocking it.

    Just a thought. But I would still use the “it was the last guy’s fault” excuse and get the hell out of Scion. ‘Cause after all, Toyota is about selling cars and making money, and at least it would free up showroom space for the new Tacomas.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    How many more iMs would Toyota sell if it were marketed in the US as the Toyota Corolla Hatchback? I think the answer is “a lot.”

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I also find it ironic that Toyota didn’t make an attempt to actually open more Scion stores in its higher performing Toyota stores. The local store here doesn’t have any competition from Toyota for at least 130 miles in any direction and no Japanese or Korean competition other than the Nissan store across town. I think Scion would have sold well here.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I’m not sure about the Geo-Scion comparison because the parent-child relationship doesn’t translate between GM and Toyota. GM had a history of failure in the small car market. Toyota has a history of dominance in the small car market. Therefore, the motivations behind Geo and Scion were considerably different, though both manufacturers felt they had an image problem.

    Scion isn’t an inherently bad idea, but the product mix is awful. We’re living in CUV-lovers paradise, and the “trendy” Toyota brand doesn’t even offer a CUV. I don’t feel like Geo’s demise occurred under the same circumstances.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Depends on how small you are talking about. Toyota has struggled selling anything smaller than a Corolla ever since the Tercel left, which was over 15 years ago. Even then I don’t think the Tercel was ever a huge seller, but certainly looked upon more favorably than its contemporaries.

      Toyota’s average buyer age was also creeping up uncomfortably high for them, hence the youth focus with Scion.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Toyota has a history of dominance in the small car market.”

      Drive the new Corolla and you’ll think twice about that statement.

  • avatar
    ccode81

    It’s expermental for searching demand to some new taste without taking risk to alter the mainstream product.
    From Japanese perspective, scion’s line up is wholly borrowed from JDM vast product line prepared to swallow up any demand.
    In the market everyone wants to have something slightly different from mainstream, they need to offer quite a few to maintain 45% market share.

  • avatar

    Steven, you’ve validated a sentiment I’ve held for a couple months, since seeing whatever new Scion it was, that looks like its Toyota parent from every angle. If that’s how they’re going to do Scion in the future, just can the brand and call them Toyotas.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Well, one of the reasons I really like my 2005 xB is because it has been essentially trouble-free. Only 2 unscheduled repairs in my 6 years of ownership. I like the new iM precisely *because* it’s not cutting edge.

    I was cross-shopping with the Hyundai Elantra GT until word started coming out about valve buildup on Hyundai’s GDI engines. I’m not willing to be a guinea pig, even to save $2000.

  • avatar
    hifi

    I don’t know if comparing GM to Toyota is exactly the same. But we can draw enough parallels between the two that Toyota should see this as a warning.

    GM didn’t fail because of their products. The poor products were the result of their problems, not the cause. GM failed because the unions had become too influential, GM itself had become too inflexible, too arrogant, and didn’t notice or care about accommodating the needs of their customers.

    As an example, take a look at a 2000 Monte Carlo. Then someone please explain to me how a vile and tacky car like this, that looks the way it did and performed so poorly, could ever be green-lighted through the various bureaucratic layers within Chevy/GM and find it’s way into a showroom. A car like this is worse, way worse than an Aztek. At least with the Aztek, Pontiac attempted to break the mold and do something different. The 2000 Monte Carlo was a trashy, dishonest attempt, plain and simple. It was substantially worse than the MC that had preceded it, and it was clear that GM was a mess and didn’t know what they were doing. Ugly, mediocre, junky products were the result. And it extended far beyond the Monte Carlo.

    Today, Toyota is what GM was in the 80s. In the early 80s, the Oldsmobile Cutlass was the top selling car in the country. The Cutlass was mediocre in every way, but mainstream people bought them because Cutlasses rode a wave of popularity and good will among customers. Today, the Camry is the top selling car for precisely the same reason. Camrys, Corollas and Siennas aren’t very good, but they are good enough, don’t fall apart in the road, and no one has to explain why they bought one. Compared with the competition in the late 70s/early 80s, it was the same with the Cutlass. In a nutshell, Toyotas gravy train won’t last.

    Toyota is just as inflexible and bureaucratic today as GM was in the 80s. Toyota’s knowledge and evasion of SUA and other safety issues have been a vivid indication of that. The wealthiest automaker’s inability to produce a competitive luxury car for their so-called “luxury” brand is also an indication of problems ahead. Their inability to design a car that doesn’t look amateurish (ala, the Monte Carlo) is further indication of problems ahead. Scion is a goner. But, like GM in the 80s, Toyota is flush with cash. Though unlike GM, before this disaster that Toyota has become continues for another decade, toyota needs to identify that there is a problem and fix it before then end up what GM became.

    I’m not so sure that it’s a good idea to pull the plug on any of their brands until they have a plan to correct what is wrong within Toyota. This is not a problem with Scion. It’s bigger than that.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      hifi, my compliments on a thoughtful post. You make some valid points, but I disagree with some others.

      yes, Toyota is making some cheaped-out cars. But they run. I don’t say this in a smart-ass way. I’m saying it’s a much more solvable problem because their decontenting is basically an ongoing exploration of how far they can go down the cheap-ass road before they repel buyers. Until they do, well, the buyers who think it’s good enough to buy now will still think so later. If enough of them are repelled eventually, they can raise the content bar whenever they want — as you point out, they’ve got the cash to tool up anything they choose to — and they’ll get the buyers back, because their current approach isn’t scorching the earth by pulling in buyers and then infuriating them.

      I’d also be careful of saying “they can’t do a competitive luxury car.” It’s true that they no longer do a competitive high-end luxury SEDAN, but again, that’s simply because they price it up where fewer people are now buying it; when the LS400 undercut its rivals by $15,000, they flew out the door. And down at the entry-luxury end, the RX crossover is still flying out the door, and today that’s where the action is.

      I agree with you that Toyota’s hubris is a real danger to them. On these pages, I predicted that the cheapening of the new Camry would put their sales supremacy among sedans in serious trouble, and that trouble quickly materialized. But they recognized their error and hustled to market with an upgraded MMC that seems to be at least stanching the bleeding until they can add more appeal to the next full refresh. I’m not a Toyota fan and in fact have never owned one. But then, they built an empire on people who aren’t like me: people who don’t care about cars. They still retain the ability to satisfy those people.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    “The Prizm would last two generations as a Geo, and then would get pulverized into a fine red mist once GM pulled the plug and tried to make it a Chevy.” This may be true in the sense that NUMMI turned out many more Corollas than Prizms in 1998-2003, but the Chevy Prizm was a bargain – maybe because GM never spent money advertising it? – and I still see plenty of them around. We bought our ’99 5-speed new for a good price, later sold it to a friend and it’s still doing fine.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Just drove a ’94 5-speed that could pass as a 3 year old version on a Hollywood set.

      Amazing quality on these vehicles, and surprisingly fun to drive when you put in a quality clutch and a new set of higher end tires.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Steven, I agree wholeheartedly about that generation of Corollas and Prizms. Like the Camrys of the same era, their quality was stunning. I remember a friend who had a Corolla LE of that vintage, the top model. I was in awe of the tightness, quietness and the obviously high quality of the materials — I still remember, more than a decade later how, good the plastic graining on the dash face was. I remember a friend who asked me what was so special about that LE. All I could say was, “It leaves the Mercedes C-Class with no reason to exist.”

        As for the previous-generation Prizm, I recommended one to my mom-in-law. She bought a dealer demonstrator LSi and drove the wheels off it for well over 100,000 miles with very little trouble.

        I did notice on the Golden Era generation of the mid-90s that they put more distance between the Toyota and the Geo in the interior appointments than they did in her car. It made me wonder if Chevy was starting to steal enough sales from the Corolla to make Toyota nervous.

        • 0 avatar
          Nasmir

          tonycd, No. In fact the Corolla outsold the Prizm 3-1,hence why the Prizm was dropped. Many had been burned by the Chevy nameplate in the past. No matter how good the Prizm was it still was associated with Chevrolet.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    ive got to disagree.

    All or almost all scions are made by toyota. the money goes back to toyota. they arent rebadging suzukis or isuzus

    The cars they sell tend to be low volume, and dont directly compete with toyotas lineup. most are sold worldwide in one form or another. a lot of their engineering has been paid off for a long time.

    decontented? they all have AC, power windows, mirrors, steering, brakes, locks, decent touchscreen stereo with bluetooth, rear view camera and USB. the regular stuff most people want and expect. no hand crank windows or janky toggle “remote” mirrors.

    if they DID build an SUV, it would have to slot under the rav4 yet not steal sales from it. a 2 door geo tracker like vehicle would probably be perfect.

    the iM is the new matrix. the iA replaces the yaris sedan. FRS fills a niche, tC is basically a celica. xB is leaving, but still a good deal for what it is and i think it should be replaced.

    sure- they could close the division and sell em all as toyotas with all the various equipment packages and trim levels that would require. they could do the same with lexus, too… soarer, harrier, etc. but they dont.

    theyre basically doing correctly what GM failed to do. 3 brands, little to no overlap. I think Sloan would have approved

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Scion is the new Geo for sure, after selling masses of “Japanese dump trucks”, “Mini Hearses”, etc (also known as the xB), they fell out of favor relatively quickly. And, of course, their cars are not quality and built to a very low price point.

    Scion could be resurrected though, as follows:
    – Bring back the last generation Supra and rebadge as a Scion. Give them a marquee car.
    – Bring back the MR2 3rd generation without the SMT, offer a hardtop option, rebadge as a Scion
    – Make Scion the “fun” arm of Toyota, not the bottom feeder target for GenY jokes.

  • avatar
    TheBlueSoap

    At least they are not as bad as GM was. Here in Canada you could purchase a Tracker from 1992 -1997 that was a Geo,1993 -1994 as an Asuna Sunrunner,1989-1991 as a Chevrolet Tracker and a GMC Tracker,1994-1998 as a Pontiac Sunrunner and finally 1998- 2004 as a Chevrolet Tracker. All the while being pretty identical to the Suzuki Sidekick which you could also purchase.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Scion, or a “youth brand,” does make some sense from the eyes of the generation making decisions at Toyota then, and largely now as well. While The West experienced a bit of a generational disconnect with the baby boomers, it never ran all that deep, nor was nearly as pronounced as marketers tried to make it out to be. While in Japan, in hardly more than a single generation, their entire outlook on the world changed about as dramatically as if the children of Thomas Jefferson’s generation, all turned out to be space aliens, solely concerned with something called schwotziungwo that noone had ever heard about before, and that probably doesn’t exist.

    Of course, projecting a similar generational disconnect onto the West, or at least America, is where things started to get muddy. But it’s far from the only time that Japanese sensibilities, which have in many ways moved further away from those in the West over the past few decades, have resulted in decisions that can seem a bit puzzling over here.

  • avatar
    melvin360

    Spot on. Toyota fell comfortably / profitably into the refined / lux / boring area, leaving little headspace for anything else. If they had put more emphasis on the Corolla and making it more exciting that a loaf of wheat bread, then it would be a serious small sporty contender for the ages. Where Honda missed the mark with the 2006-present Si, a bit of an overwrought, underwhelming little car, the Corolla could’ve swooped in and cleaned up the joint nicely. The XRS would’ve been a serious little rig, a Mazda3 with Toyota refinement and reliability. Yikes.
    Great article

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Basically… Yes!

    Scion is a stripped down/decontented car as there’s really no options available. I think it’s targeted to the Millenials/youngsters.

    Toyota should save its money/resources and fold Scion back into the Toyota brand and just upgrade the Corollas/Camries with newer technology and designs while lowering the prices.

    It can then try marketing itself to the younger or newer buyers with an emphasis on newer technology but would have to concentrate on quality control (which it’s losing due to its expansion) that’s related to its Toyota brand.

    Heck, make one model from each lineup “sporty” like the Camry SE, but with more emphasis on sport, not just an appearance option package.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    What? No mention of the Geo Spectrum ?

    Great question, Mr. Lang, though I am late to reading this.

    Wasn’t the whole point of Scion to offer basic cars that could be dealer accessorized to an individual’s taste and a no haggle pricing scheme, like Saturn?

    It seems they lost the plot long ago.Keeping it going is just more wasted effort as a Scion would sell much better as a properly badged Toyota.

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