2001 was a year that saw our world change in dramatic fashion. Against this backdrop of social, political, and economic upheaval, a small group of forward-thinking people at one of the world’s most respected automakers came together to shake up the automotive status quo.
A Bold New Direction
This group of visionaries at Toyota saw an opportunity to create something entirely new and different. They had an idea about developing a collection of bold, daring, fresh, contemporary, and exciting vehicles that would inspire and motivate a new generation of youthful car buyers. They sought to develop a new automotive brand that would capture the essence the modern street culture with distinctive cars infused with their own unique urban swagger.
This new, hip, unconventional, and street-smart car company would be called Scion. The Scion brand officially debuted in 2002 at the New York Auto Show with two concept vehicles code-named the “bbX” and “ccX.” These would eventually become the xB and tC, respectively.
The Launch Of A Hip, New Automotive Brand
On June 9, 2003, 105 select Toyota dealerships in California began selling Scions. The following year, the Scion brand was launched nationwide. Everything about Scion, from the names of the cars themselves and “Pure Price” pricing strategy to the marque’s edgy guerilla social media viral marketing campaign, was designed to appeal to a new generation of young car buyers who wanted to distance themselves from traditional vehicles and the conventional car-buying process.
A New Way To Buy A Car
Scion’s “Pure Price” did away with the idea of ordering a car based on different trim levels and options. Instead, there was one, “no-haggle” price for the car that streamlined the purchase process. Scion models were offered in just one standard trim level. Buyers could modify and customize their Scions with 150 different accessories. A unique “Optomize Scion” program allowed for even more customization options through various aftermarket providers.
And the “Pure Process Plus,” let buyers spec out their Scion, search local dealerships for a match, calculate monthly payments, apply for credit, and get a trade-in estimate online to streamline the buying process further.
A Breath Of Fresh Air
The cars themselves were a refreshing break from conformity. Launched in 2004, the original xA was a five-door, subcompact hatchback with tons of personality. It featured a lively 1.5-liter, DOHC 4-cylinder engine making 103 horsepower. The squared-off Scion xB was unlike anything on the road. Its boxy, yet practical, shape became a trademark of Scion’s unconventional design philosophy.
One of the most popular Scions was the sporty tC. A 2-door coupe, the tC was the spiritual successor to Toyota’s popular Celica sports coupe. Introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), the tC became an instant hit with youthful buyers looking for a smartly styled, 2-door liftback that combined spirited performance and handling with the latest infotainment technologies. The tC was powered by a 2.4-liter, DOHC, 16-valve engine with VVT-I that produced 161 hp and 162 lb.-ft. of torque. A TRD Supercharger could be added, bumping the engine’s output to 200 hp. MacPherson struts up front, and a double wishbone rear suspension gave the tC exceptionally agile and precise handling.
Other notable Scion models include the xD hatchback, which replaced the xA in 2008, the city-smart iQ, and “tuner-inspired” Scion FR-S 2-door sports coupe.
A Youthful Emphasis
One of the chief goals of developing Scion was to drive a younger buyer demographic to Toyota/Scion dealerships. In this respect, Scion was an unqualified success. Scion quickly became the youngest brand in the auto industry, with an average age of buyers being 36 years old. The brash tC sports coupe’s customers averaged 29 years.
Younger buyers were attracted by Scion’s simple pricing model, vast personalization options, a dazzling array of hot infotainment technologies, and unique Special Edition and RS (Release Series) models that pre-packaged exclusive accessories in limited-run models.
Blazing New Trails
In just 13 short years the Scion brand shook up the automotive industry, blazing new trails with innovative styling, an unconventional marketing strategy, and many other groundbreaking innovations. This past August, Toyota discontinued the Scion brand, proclaiming the end to a successful experiment that saw a resurgence of young buyers flocking to Toyota/Scion showrooms.
But the end of Scion is just the beginning of a new chapter for Toyota. The lessons learned from Scion’s bold and dramatic vision will be incorporated into new Toyota products, processes, and services for years to come.
“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.
Goodbye, Scion. Hello, Scion by Toyota!
The best news is that several exciting new Scion models will live on as re-badged Toyotas. They are the 2017 Yaris iA (formerly the Scion iA), the 2017 Corolla iM hatchback (formerly the Scion iM), and the hot new, rear-wheel drive 2017 Toyota 86 sports coupe (formerly the Scion FR-S).
And current owners of Scion vehicles needn’t worry. Just as they have in the past, all Scions will continue to be serviced at your leading Scion new car dealership near Newton, NJ Toyota World of Newton.
So, while we may be saying “Sayonara,” to one sensational car brand, the youthful and energetic spirit of Scion lives on at Toyota World of Newton. Visit us today at 66 Hampton House Road, Route 206, Newton, NJ 07860 for some of the best deals on new 2016 Toyotas for sale in New Jersey. Call us today at 877-701-3721.