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Toyota shuts down Scion

Scion-ara: The Scion brand may be dead, but American consumers can still get their hands on the iM through Toyota dealers come August.

Scion youth brand killed off as US buyers embrace modern Toyota design

5 Feb 2016

TOYOTA has announced that it will pension off its youth-focused Scion brand, with all of its assets to be absorbed into the Toyota brand.

Based in the United States, Scion was established in 2003 to bring younger buyers to the wider Toyota fold, but sales slowed to about 56,000 in the US last year, which is well off the pace of its best year, 2006, when it sold 173,000 units.

The Japanese automotive giant said in a statement that Scion would transition to Toyota in August this year, with some model-year 2017 Scion models to be re-badged as Toyotas.

The FR-S sportscar – sold in Australia as the 86 – the Mazda2 sedan-based iA and the iM five-door hatch (Corolla) will become Toyota models in the US, while the unusual tC compact two-door coupe will be discontinued.

Scion revealed its C-HR crossover concept at last year's Los Angeles motor show, but it was based on the Toyota concept of the same name and will therefore appear in Toyota's line-up down the track, the company said.

Toyota said the decision was made “in response to customers' needs”, adding that younger buyers “have come to appreciate the Toyota brand and its traditional attributes of quality, dependability and reliability”.

It has also coincided with Toyota changing its styling to an edgier, more modern look, as well as its handling attributes, to appeal to younger buyers, the car-maker said.

According to the company, Scion has the youngest buyers of all brands in the US, with an average age of 36. In addition, 70 per cent of Corolla-based iM and Mazda2-based iA sedan buyers are first-time new-car buyers.

Servicing and repairs will continue through Toyota dealers in the US, while the 22 dedicated Scion employees will be offered the opportunity to take jobs at Toyota Motor Sales USA.

Scion founding vice-president and now CEO of Toyota Motor North America Jim Lentz put a positive spin on the demise, sayingt he was proud of what the brand had accomplished.

“This isn’t a step backward for Scion it’s a leap forward for Toyota. Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network,” he said.

“I was there when we established Scion and our goal was to make Toyota and our dealers stronger by learning how to better attract and engage young customers.

I’m very proud because that’s exactly what we have accomplished.

“We could not have achieved the success we have had without the incredible support of Scion’s customers, dealers and team members, so supporting them throughout this transition process will be one of our top priorities.”

The Scion brand was never launched in Australia, but a number of Scion-badged models have been offered as Toyota’s Down Under, including the xB – sold as the recently discontinued Rukus tall-boy hatch – the FR-S (86) and iM (Corolla hatch).

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