For a while we’ve been wondering about the future of the Scion brand. The past few years it has largely been stagnant except for the redesigned tC. Then came the iQ and Toyota’s announcement that the FT-86 would be sold as a Scion FR-S. That was an important step in determining the future of the Scion brand. Sales at Scion need a boost: xB and xD were just cut recently due to poor sales.
When that announced, we concluded Scion was in need of fresh investment and renewed direction. Apparently Toyota has been thinking the same thing. Automotive News reports that Toyota has decided on a path forward after a nine month review of the brand.
Scion has always been known for its funkiness and emphasis on the youth market. Instead of being “out there” though, the plan is apparently to move to a more mainstream approach.
This has already been seen to a certain extent in advertisements for the FR-S. That car doesn’t need any gimmicks to sell itself. As for the replacement for the xB though, Vice President Jack Hollis said it might not be called xB, or even be a box. “We may not replace the xB by name, one-for-one,” says Hollis. “The first generation, we needed the box. The second generation, we still liked the box, but we started looking for things that would stand out like the box. No one is saying [the next one] has to be a box.” Thinking outside the box right?
Last year, Scion buyers had an average age of 43, compared to the industry average of 51. That makes Scion the most youthful brand in the industry. At launch though, Scion had an average buyer age of 45. It is clearly trending older, and Scion is going to try to balance the between the two. Generation Y isn’t the primary focus at Scion anymore apparently.
Scion has built its whole brand image on being funky and different though so we aren’t sure going mainstream is the best thing. Hyundai and Kia seem to have stolen a bit of Scion’s thunder with the Veloster and Soul. With attributes like fuel economy and “precise handling” on the list for Scion, we may be seeing some different type of Scions than ever before. For Toyota, hopefully they are better selling ones too.