After a relatively short 13 years of existence, Toyota has announced it will kill off its youth-oriented Scion sub-brand in the USA and Canada with the brand to officially disappear in August this year.
According to Toyota, the young adults of today are less engaged with the Scion brand, and less likely to want to deliberately seek out products specifically designed to appeal to them.
Toyota is no longer seen as “mum and dad’s car” – or at least the social stigma surrounding the ruthlessly conservative Japanese automaker has waned enough to give it broader appeal.
A lack of investment in future product for Scion (the result of economic pressure from the Global Financial Crisis) also compounded the issue. Last year the two big product announcements for Scion were for the iA and iM – a rebadged Mazda2 sedan (below) and a rebadged Toyota Corolla hatch.
Hardly exciting stuff.
In fact, most of Scion’s products were rebadged Toyotas, even from the beginning.
The boxy Scion xB, one of its more notable vehicles and a genuine hit with the intended demographic, was initially based on the Japanese-market Toyota bB, then the Toyota Rumion for its second generation (which continues to be sold here as the Toyota Rukus).
It all translates to dismal sales and a diminished business case for a specifically youth-oriented sub-brand. The effect is clear – last year the company sold just 56,167 cars, down from its peak in 2006 of 173,034 cars. Kids aren’t in love with Scion anymore.
The news of Scion’s axing comes as something of a surprise considering plans were already in place to introduce the iA and iM this year.
The production version of Toyota’s C-HR compact crossover was also displayed as a Scion model at last year’s LA Auto Show, indicating a plan was in place to grow the brand further.
Instead, those models will launch in North America with Toyota badges, and Scion will officially disappear from Canada and the US by August this year.