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Scion to Ditch Youth Angle And Go Upscale?

(Credit: Scion)

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Scion to Ditch Youth Angle And Go Upscale?

2014 Scion iM Concept

2014 Scion iM Concept (Credit: Scion)

It’s no secret that as a brand Scion is struggling. The revolution to provide hip cars for the youth of America has fallen flat, with many Scions being driven by the geriatrics of the nation in large numbers. That’s pushed the average age of Scion owners to about 49, according to a report by Reuters at the end of 2013. The idea was that Scion would be the introduction to the Toyota family, helping inject some youth into the consumer base. Instead the average age of a Toyota owner remains pretty high.

Jim Lentz, who is the CEO of Toyota North America, has a vision for Scion that involves taking the brand more upscale. He recently opened up about his opinions in an interview with Ward’s Auto. His vision of Scion is not the brand for the youth of America, but instead as a small-premium offering. Instead, he thinks the Yaris and such can fill the need for small inexpensive cars, making cheap Scions redundant.

The plan wouldn’t mean that Scion would move into the luxury space, because that’s the purview of the Lexus brand. Instead, Scion would fulfill the need to offer nicer small vehicles that cost less than $30,000. Already, Lexus has said it won’t offer a Mercedes CLA and Audi A3 fighter as plans call for keeping all starting prices above $30,000. That would mean Scion would take the fight to such vehicles, giving Toyota a presence in a market segment that is heating up.

An example of things that might be is the iM concept. Right now, Scion says the production version of the car will start at under $20,000 but with the right additions the vehicle could provide a more premium feel.

For right now, there seems to be no definite plan to take Scion in a more upscale direction, at least according to Scion Vice President Dough Murtha in another recent interview with Ward’s. That means the brand will likely keep competing against the likes of Kia and will probably continue to get pummeled in the marketplace.

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