Scions to become Toyotas

By Bob Nagy on February 3, 2016 4:30 PM

After a 13-year run, the Scion brand will shut down and some of its product portfolio absorbed into its parent Toyota division. The transition is set to take place this August when the rebranded 2017 Toyota iA Sedan, iM 5-door Hatch and sporty FR-S models arrive in showrooms. At that time, the Scion tC Coupe will disappear following a final Release Edition. The production version of the new C-HR crossover -- which bowed last fall in Los Angeles as a Scion – goes on sale next year wearing a Toyota badge.

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Created in 2003 as a way for the parent company to attract a new generation of younger, hipper customers by offering edgier products through unconventional marketing, Scion accounted for over one million sales since then with half its buyers under 35 years old and 70 percent new to Toyota. While still boasting the youngest demographics in the industry, Scion’s sales dipped from a peak of 173,034 in 2006 to just 56,167 last year. Toyota says the Scion shutdown comes in response to evolving customer desires for vehicles that offered more practicality along with enhanced style and improved driving dynamics. Given those qualities are similar to those championed by Toyota Motor Company chief Akio Toyoda for Toyota division future products, the demise of Scion is not all that surprising.

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Jim Lentz, founding vice president of Scion and now CEO, Toyota Motor North America, noted: “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 also pointed out that current Scion owners will be unaffected by the change when it comes to any warranty, service and/or repair work on their existing vehicles, all of which will continue to be carried out by Toyota dealers.

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