Scion C-HR to badge as a Toyota when it arrives in 2017
Toyto announced this morning that Scion, established as a separate brand in 2003 to explore new products and processes that would attract more youthful customers, is being transitioned back to the Toyota brand. The brand transition is effective immediately with MY16 Scion vehicles to continue on sale until gone.
Beginning in August 2016, MY17 Scion vehicles will be rebadged as Toyota. The FR-S sports car with the latest Scions, the iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback will become part of the Toyota family for 2017.
The tC sports coupe will have a final release series edition and end production in August 2016. The C-HR, which recently debuted at the L.A. Auto Show, will be a part of the Toyota line-up going forward.
The service and repair process for Scion customers will be unaffected by this change as customers will continue to visit Toyota dealerships’ service departments.
“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,” said Jim Lentz, founding vice president of Scion and now CEO, Toyota Motor North America. “I was there when we established Scion and our goal was to make Toyota and our dealers stronger by learning how to better attract and engage young customers. I’m very proud because that’s exactly what we have accomplished.
“We could not have achieved the success we have had without the incredible support of Scion’s customers, dealers and team members, so supporting them throughout this transition process will be one of our top priorities,” said Lentz.
Background for the Decision
Toyota says their decision was made in response to customers’ needs. According to Toyota, today’s younger buyers still want fun-to-drive vehicles that look good, but they are also more practical. They, like their parents, have come to appreciate the Toyota brand and its traditional attributes of quality, dependability and reliability.
New Toyota vehicles have evolved to feature the dynamic styling and handling young people desire. Toyota felt that the time was now to add specific Scion brand products to their lineup where Toyota did not currently offer a product to round out their vehicle offering.
Scion has consistently been the youngest brand in the auto industry with an average age of 36 years old. At 29, the tC sports coupe has the lowest-average age buyer in the industry. The most recent additions to the line-up, the iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback, are bringing in new buyers with 70 percent being first-time new car purchasers. Additionally, more than 50 percent of iM and iA buyers are under 35 years old.
“Scion has had some amazing products over the years and our current vehicles are packed with premium features at value prices,” said Andrew Gilleland, Scion vice president. “It’s been a great run and I’m proud that the spirit of Scion will live on through the knowledge and products soon to be available through the Toyota network.”
As for the writer, we will miss the Scion (particularly the FR-S and the new iA) and hope Toyota will take every opportunity to further develop the Scion people and use lessons learned to create better products to improve the customer experience and relationships in the future.