By now, you’ve probably heard the news that Toyota is killing off its youth-oriented sub-brand Scion. But that’s not entirely true, is it? That’s because Toyota Motor North America’s official statement tells a different story if you read it line-by-line.
The Japanese giant never directly said they were going to completely wipe Scion off the face of the Earth. Instead, they refer to the corporate decision as Scion simply “transitioning back to the Toyota brand.” That’s because when it was established as a separate brand in 2003, Scion was intended solely as a lab experiment to attract younger customers.
Of course, this was under the premise that in those days, Toyota was perceived as the boring yet practical choice. Obviously, that’s no longer the case with the revamped “Waku-Doki” brand we know today. Hence, Toyota felt that Scion has now fulfilled its purpose and is ready to re-unite with its parent company.
“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.
So, now what? The brand transition is scheduled to start in August 2016. When that happens, all Scions sold as 2017 year models will simply be rebadged as Toyotas. *gasp* As if that changes anything.
We already know that the FR-S is simply an 86 and the iM 5-door hatchback is an Auris, so there’s nothing new there. The tC sports coupe, on the other hand, will get a special final edition before production ends this year. And as for the C-HR concept that debuted at the 2015 LA Auto Show, that too will get a Toyota badge. The only odd child is to see the iA sedan, which is a refaced Mazda 2, join the line-up.
After-sales service will likewise be unaffected. Scion customers will still have their vehicles serviced at Toyota dealerships as before.
Is this really the end of Scion? Not a chance. We always knew that there was a Toyota hiding behind every Scion badge anyway and this “transition” only rids us of that emblem. As Andrew Gilleland, Scion Vice President puts it, “…the spirit of Scion will live on through the knowledge and products soon to be available through the Toyota network.”