Former Scions to get trim levels

The C-HR crossover is likely to get multiple trim levels when it goes on sale in early 2017.

NEW YORK — First Scion’s old nameplates will get Toyota badges and revised names. Then they’ll get another coating of the Toyota treatment: trim levels.

Toyota plans to pivot away from Scion’s monospec approach and introduce multiple option packages on the youth-oriented cars, Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, told Automotive News last month at the New York auto show.

The reason? Volume.

“You can drive more volume with grades,” Lentz said. “I think monospec limited a little bit of your volumes. Toyota is a volume player.”

Since its inception, Scion limited the choices on its vehicles to transmission type, paint color and sometimes a sound system upgrade. The brand had long touted this approach as a way to make it easier for dealers to maintain inventory and for shoppers to customize their vehicles from a blank canvas using dealer-installed or aftermarket accessories.

“With Scion it was never about the volumes,” Lentz said. “It was more about the laboratory to understand.”

It’s too early to tell how many trim levels the vehicles might get once they’re folded into the Toyota brand, or whether they could follow the same nomenclature as current Toyota products, such as LE, SE, and XLE.

“It won’t be crazy, like five grades or something, but there will still be that opportunity to customize,” Lentz said.

The new C-HR subcompact cross-over will almost certainly get multiple trim levels when it goes on sale in early 2017 as a 2018 model. After that, it may take another year before the other former Scion nameplates (to be named Corolla iM, Yaris iA and 86) adopt the same approach, Lentz said.

Toyota will continue to offer a thick catalog of aftermarket parts for the vehicles, mostly under the TRD subbrand, which has gained popularity with consumers at the dealership, Lentz said.

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