Scion is weird, and now it’s dead. The budget-friendly, youth-targeted brand has been killed by Toyota after a 13-year run.
While this decision might seem abrupt to some, Scion has been struggling for years. Instead of drawing in youthful customers like it was meant to, it instead appealed to a much older group of consumers who were looking for the reliability of a Toyota, but at rock-bottom prices. For a moment, Scion changed its marketing strategy to reflect that reality, then switched back to quirky commercials featuring the likes of James Franco.
In a twist of irony, Toyota said that many of its newest models are actually quite popular with Millennials, thanks in no small part to commercials of white rabbits playing with some in the mud. Jim Lentz, who is the CEO of Toyota Motor North America, told MotorTrend that this move will make Toyota even stronger.
Only three Scions will be migrated to the Toyota lineup, with the rest getting the axe. Those are the brand-new iM and iA, and the enthusiast-oriented FR-S. For those who are a fan of the ultra-fugly C-HR crossover there’s good news, because it’s still coming, only with a Toyota badge.
Toyota employees who worked exclusively on the Scion brand, which added up to a whopping 22 individuals, will be able to transfer to the Toyota brand instead. In other words, Toyota had massive resources invested in Scion, so winding it down is pretty hard.
Scion owners don’t need to worry, because Toyota will keep servicing existing vehicles, providing parts and making them practical to purchase used. It’s not clear if Toyota dealerships will transition to the no-haggle pricing model Scion and now Lexus have adopted.
While Toyota isn’t commenting on the reasons behind killing off Scion, industry analysts are speculating it had to do with a combination of flagging sales, low gas prices and Fiat Chrysler axing the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart.
Thanks for the cheap, quirky times, Scion. At least we still have the FR-S.