It’s official: Toyota’s ostensibly youth-oriented brand, Scion, will come to an end this year. Starting this fall all Scion models will be re-badged as Toyotas instead, the company announced today.
You can almost see the strained smile on the face of Jim Lentz, founding VP of Scion and now CEO of Toyota North America as he, in their press release, says:
“This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota.”
The release goes on to say:
As part of the brand transition, beginning in August 2016, MY17 Scion vehicles will be rebadged as Toyotas. The FR-S sports car, iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback will become part of the Toyota family. The tC sports coupe will have a final release series edition and end production in August 2016. The C-HR, which recently debuted at the L.A. Auto Show, will be a part of the Toyota line-up.
The service and repair process for Scion customers will be unaffected by this change as customers will continue to visit Toyota dealerships’ service departments.
Scion was established in 2003 as a way to target younger buyers and bring them into the Toyota family, which long suffered from one of the oldest demographics in the industry. Scion boasted some success in that regard; Toyota says the brand has (or had, I guess) the youngest average buyer age in the business.
But Scion had long suffered from a product drought. For most of its history, it only had three or four models in the entire range, and has gone inexplicably long without any crossovers, currently the hottest and highly profitable segments in car-dom. Cars like the second-generation xB languished for years as competitors came up with better offerings. It seemed Scion never quite lived up to its full potential as a brand for the kids, and that’s kind of a shame. Worst of all, Scion hit its sales peak way back in 2006 with 173,000 cars sold; last year it moved just 56,000.
At the very least, it brought American enthusiasts the rear-drive FR-S sports coupe, a joint effort with Subaru (and built by them too), which is a shit-ton of fun to drive. And hey! Now it’s going to come with a Toyota badge, which saves you the trouble of doing the swap yourself.