Toyota put the Scion brand out to pasture today, shuttering the brand before its 14th birthday. Scion began life in 2002 as Toyota’s edgy brand, aimed to lure younger buyers into showrooms.
The brand promised a different buying experience with no-haggle pricing and unique vehicles, and Toyota found some success with it.
Over a million Scion cars found homes with a younger demographic than your typical Toyota buyer – buyers averaged an age of 36 years old. The experiment taught Toyota about the wants and needs of younger buyers who sought out fun, practical and attractive vehicles that were the polar opposite of the Camry.
I’m not sure why Toyota needed to launch a brand to acquire that information. They could’ve showed up at any car enthusiast gathering and asked around or watched competitors launch cars for those that grew up playing Gran Turismo, like myself.
Don’t worry, the cars aren’t going anywhere
The current Scion model lineup will transition to Toyota vehicles. There won’t be anyone taking a heat-gun and dental floss to swap the Scion badges for Toyota, because the changeover won’t happen until the 2017 model year.
The only car to not survive the transition is the tC coupe, based on the European Toyota Avensis. Toyota plans a final-release series, special edition vehicle as a farewell to the compact coupe. The recently launched iA, iM and most importantly, the FR-S continue on as Toyota cars.
Scion owners can continue to bring their vehicles into the same Toyota dealerships for service, which isn’t surprising because they were mostly the same dealership with an extra sign.
I wasn’t personally a fan of Scion, but rang in the new year with an FR-S Toyota sent over for review. It’s a wonderful car that is a blast to drive. The steering is so precise, the suspension so balanced, I can break loose the rear end for smiles. It is one of the purest sports cars you can purchase today for under $30,000 (available as the GT86 for £25,000 in the UK or as the 86 for AU$35,990).
The car didn’t have much technology, heck, the technology it did have was awful, but it was the best car to ever wear a Scion badge. Since the car will continue as a Toyota in the US, it isn’t too saddening.