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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sayonara Scion

Toyota will no longer be producing the Scion brand of cars—a line-up it says was designed for the young driver.

I've been inside a Scion dealership… sat in the cars… thought at least one of the designs was cool, fast and nasty.

But… not being young enough to afford such a car, I also found that there was no arm rest, and looking at my rearview mirror to try and see out the back window was a negative experience.

Add in a weak powerplant (motor) combined with a heavy car, and one gets less than satisfactory horsepower and torque.

Did I mention the price? It wasn't really that affordable if you were a young would-be car owner.

Call this a marketing blunder of epic proportions.

A car built for the young driver that doesn't really give a young driver what they want.

In the U.S., for 2015, only 56,167 cars were sold.

The 2006 Scion xB looks like it has a fat lip. How is driving a coffin-shaped car fun for young drivers?

Introduced in 2003, I never heard a lot about the Scion until my friend Rob told me he was interested in purchasing one maybe eight years ago.

I hope it wasn't just me, but I think I discouraged him from buying one—eventually playing a role in the demise of Toyota's Scion. That's my bad, I suppose… but Toyota didn't really give us much choice.

I have owned two Toyota Camry wagons over the centuries, and have had great experiences with both. And, if I could afford one, I would buy one and drive it now. I'm just saying I have nothing against Toyota.

So… no more new Scions, me son.

If you are one of the few people who own a Scion, fret not too much. Toyota will still service the car for you.

And, while the Scion brand does disappear, some of the former Scion cars will be rebranded as Toyota.

So, aside from poor sales, why kill of the Scion brand? I'm asking, because I used to own a SAAB.

There's a belief that Scion owners were young and enjoyed a more 'fun' car… but really, Toyota is saying that Scion was merely an introduction for most of those drivers into the Toyota family… and that now, practical outweighs the fun of youth.

I can understand that, I suppose, but if Toyota expects people to believe that claptrap, they are only deluding themselves.
The 2014 Scion tC looks nice... then-again... it looks a lot like my 2001 Hyundai Tiburon minus the really cool wing on the back end. So... what's new and exciting about this car?

The truth is those Scion cars could not perform as well as other 'youthful brands, like the Mini… which isn't all that mini since it's rebranding. I also hate the new Volkswagon Beetle styling, because it looks less like a bug, and more like every other car.

Man… whatever happened to cars providing styling that differentiated it from the other brands?  It's why I liked the look of the Chrysler PT Cruiser (but not its safety factors). How is that we can look at a classic car (age-wise) and know what year it was produced, and immediately what company manufactured it? Every car company in the 1950s and 1940s seemed to offer cars that looked different from the competition as well as looked different from other name brands.

Oh, for the days of the Plymouth Superbird… the '63 Corvette Stingray split window… the Chevrolet '57 Nomad… the old Chrysler 300… the Ford T-birds… every year a new look that looked unlike any car out there!

And these Scions… Toyota's Scion USED to have a distinct look when it first debuted in 2003… then they didn't. What was so special about a Scion? The engine? No… nothing new or special there. Hybrid technology… no.

No… Scion just hit at a small niche market and lost. How many young people have the coin to buy a new car? That's right. Not as many as Toyota/Scion would have liked.

Call it brand mismanagement by a very good car company in Toyota.

Sayonara Scion. We hardly knew ya.
Andrew Joseph

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