By on August 5, 2015

2015_NYIAS_Scion_iM_007

Scion — the youth focused, geriatric-coveted Toyota Junior Team brand — is looking to push sales in a different direction as it tries to shed its “retiree in an xB” image in favor of #millenials Snapchatting their road trips in Scion iMs.

According to The Detroit Bureau, Scion wants to offer their wares online in more markets in an effort to appeal to younger consumers who don’t want to take test drives, I guess.

The Pure Process program, as Scion calls it, allows #millenials to login to AOL, use the Scion keyboard, and pay for their vehicle by money order shop for a brand new car via their tablet, computer or other iDevice, get a final price, arrange financing, and have the vehicle delivered. The Detroit Bureau points out that last point can only be done where it’s legal to do so.17

The system is linked to dealers. A pilot program brought 10 dealers into the test. Now there are 60 participating Scion locations as part of Pure Process. Average purchase time, from start to finish, was four hours, though about 50 percent of participants completed the process in about two hours.

If you are not a #millenial and unsure about this whole Internet thing, here’s a how-to video from some smart, British IT people.

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38 Comments on “Scion Wants to Sell Cars on New-fangled Thing Called “The Internet”...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    All sales final, no returns allowed.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Buying by pressing a webpage button is a lot of a more warm and pleasant experience than having to deal with some smug crook at a dealership. I would buy my car online, if it were possible. Instead, I am forced to deal with a crooked middleman, who is enriched in the process.

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      +1. It’s easy to underestimate the premium a buyer puts on being able to complete a transaction without having to interact with another human… especially when said human is trained to get as much money out of the buyer as possible.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        No one seeks more ardently to avoid human contact in commerce than I, but what do you do about a test drive?

        This would be even worse than ordering untried cowboy boots. There *will* be pain and inconvenience.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Scion

    Dead brand walking.

    Sales down about 25% from last year, and last year was an abysmal down year, and the year before that was a down year, and the year before that…

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      I really doubt that Toyota is losing money on the brand. They basically bring stuff over thats sold elsewhere to fill niches in the toyota lineup. Nobody else is doing that or offering haggle free pricing.

      And id bet they get a lot of repeat business as well. I know several scion owners thatwould definitely consider another toyota product.

      I see scion lasting longer than FCA in its current form.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Now they just need people that want to buy a Scion.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    First, you gotta build a car that your target audience WANTS to buy, and then the little details will take care of themselves.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    If it’s just corporate hubris that keeps Toyota flogging this sad division, someone needs to convince them that euthanizing it would cost them no face because no one in the US would notice its absence.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I think to some extent yes.

      Look at how long GM kept Geo alive, how long Chrysler kept Plymouth alive, Ford kept Mercury alive, how long Mitsubishi is hanging on in the states.

      Not even 4K units sold last month. The FRS can be officially labeled a flop. the ignored xB and xD were mercy killed, the iQ should have never been sold in the first place – certainly not at $16K “no haggle” pricing.

      The iA is at least interesting, but look at the combined sales of the Renegade, Trax, Encore, and HR-V. Toyota is utterly tone deaf introducing a small sedan and small hatchback in a market where people voting with their wallets don’t want small sedans or small hatchbacks.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Toyota is utterly tone deaf introducing a small sedan and small hatchback in a market where people voting with their wallets don’t want small sedans or small hatchbacks.”

        Precisely! It’s a bizarre aberration from what otherwise has for decades been a relentlessly rational force in the industry.

        Could Scion be a plaything originally granted to “NEED MOAR SPORTY!” Akio Toyoda?

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      It’s a well documented human trait to over-value sunk costs, continuing to make decisions adversely colored by the desire to not lose those sunk costs. I think this helps explain Mercury and Plymouth, but Scion may have a little more behind the decision to keep it going. A big part of the Scion concept is to capture young buyers and inculcate loyalty to the Toyota brand, leading to future Toyota and Lexus sales. I wonder what the conversion rate is?

  • avatar

    It looks like a Toyota, its Scion-ness is gone. Just sell the thing as a Toyota.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Scion’s buyer age is lower than the industry average. I know that it’s popular on the interwebs to assume that it isn’t because of that old guy who you saw driving an xB, but it isn’t accurate.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Is it still below average, corrected for transaction price? Some years ago, someone claimed (on TTAC perhaps?) that it wasn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’ve lost track of the number of inaccurate statements that come from the TTAC commentariat.

        Last I checked, Scion has the lowest average age of any car brand in the US. The problem isn’t that the buyers are too old, but that there aren’t nearly enough of them.

        • 0 avatar
          Nessuno

          Sure but that age is still 49 according to IHS…Mazda, Jeep, Ram and VW are all at 49, Toyota’s at 52.3. Youngest non-lux is dodge at 48.

          Scion has a product problem.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Toyota claims that Scion’s average age is 31.

            IHS uses registration data to calculate the age. But the driver is not necessarily the registered owner. Toyota should have more information about who is driving the cars, versus who took title to them (i.e. the parents of the younger driver.)

  • avatar

    If their target audience is younger buyers,I wonder how much polling/market research says first and second time buyers dread and/or hate the traditional dealership buying experience.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    That iM looks so much like a Fit after a bad scolding.

  • avatar
    Chan

    The iM is a step in the right direction. If Toyota wants Scion to be relevant at all, the products need to be whipped into shape.

    All of Scion’s other offerings suffer from critical flaws including cheap interiors and primitive powertrains (except the FR-S).

    Imagine an xB with a 6AT and a real interior. Who else has a hatchback with class-leading cargo capacity and a 2.4L engine standard?

    As for buying cars online, I don’t really care for it. I want to test drive and personally inspect the thing before taking ownership, and anyone with a semblance of social skill and self-esteem can haggle his or her way to a decent price.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Since Scion has fixed pricing there is no haggling, thus this is the ONE brand in which you don’t NEED the interwebs to help with your purchase.

      Since they just figured out you can sell things on the world wide web I bet all the website does is email [email protected] based on the zip code you enter. And if it takes 2 hours then something is seriously wrong. I wonder if Toyota has heard of Amazon Prime or eBay?

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        I think you underestimate the number of people who want as little human interaction as possible, especially with sales people of any type. 2-3 hours online is vastly more pleasant to them than 60 min with a human dealer, even in a setting that’s supposed to be a painless no-haggle.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    How does one do a four square with no haggling?

  • avatar
    Acd

    Pretend you’re buying a Tesla or at a Saturn dealer and take the first offer they pencil.

  • avatar

    One of a big problems of Scion is that the products are way overpriced (or were when I checked). I don’t know exactly how many people are stingy like me, but when I bought a 2014 Fit, it was cheaper than the pure-price xD, and obviously it was a better car. Since I do not buy cars often, I chose to submit myself to the horrors of the car-buying experience. Buying on the Internet isn’t going to make overpriced cars any cheaper.

  • avatar
    matador

    People buy vehicles on eBay, so why not? Online sales without dealer pressure seems like a good idea, but Scion has bigger problems to worry about….

  • avatar

    If you know what you want and can’t go to a dealer and test drive and negotiate a better than avg price (aka Scions price) in 45 minutes or less than you’re doing it wrong. It’s really not so painful. I’m surprised 4 hours is the target mark for an online transaction.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Just a thought: It may be taking four hours because buyers are multitasking, and walking away from the site for brief periods of time and then returning…and/or they’re stopping at various decision points to confer with a significant other about the available choices.

    To that latter scenario, I seem to recall that Scion offers an unusually high number of dealer-installed options on its “build your own” site.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Can I get mine delivered with the Amazon drone?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    To all you naysayers: there is a 70% chance I will buy an iM when they come out.

    Reason A) it’s a Corolla hatch. Boring, sure, but simple and dead-nuts reliable. It’s also made in Japan, which I like. I think the pricing is fair and reasonable competitive.

    Here’s the competition (in my mind), and why I’ve rejected it:

    Hyundai Elantra GT. Always cash on the hood, so it would be cheaper. However, I’m seeing too much about valve buildup on the GDI engines, and don’t want to be the guinea pig.

    Mazda3 hatch: Looks good on paper, but it’s a Mexican car, and I don’t buy Mexican cars.

    Subaru Impreza hatch: don’t want/need AWD, and the resultant complexity and MPG hit.

    No, I wouldn’t care if it was a Scion iM or a Toyota Corolla hatchback, but as a Scion, I know I can buy it at MSRP, without arguing with the dealer about all their nasty ADM stickers.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    FWIW, my xA has had no recalls at all. Id rather have a car thats VIN starts with JT than not.

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