Some of the biggest auto industry news this week I'm sure your familiar with was Toyota's announcement to pull the plug on Scion for the 2017 model year (MY). This is especially surprising to us since they recently released the iA and iM models, which were supported by a great advertising campaign. It turns out that buyers today would prefer Scion's parent brand.
Various Toyota and Scion personnel have confirmed that some of the Scion models will be folded into the Toyota brand and simply rebadged for MY2017, including the iA, iM, FR-S and new concept car C-HR. But who's to say what will happen for MY2018 and years to follow.
Here are some unique characteristics of Scion that we will miss if they are later dissolved under the Toyota brand.
1. Single-Trim Strategy
Scion was the only OEM to stick with single trim vehicle models, or mono-spec as Toyota would say. Toyota plans on keeping the single-trim strategy for their rebadged Scion models in MY2017. Though according to an interview The Truth About Cars had with Scion's rep Nancy Hubbell, Toyota will be re-evaluating this approach for the MY2018. It's quite possible that the existing Scion Models will have trims, or grades, after the first transition year.
Evidently the single-trim strategy didn't make enough of the difference for first-time car buyers. Based on this recent news, it looks like we've found the answer to our question "will the single-trim strategy expand?" posed in our article "The Pros and Cons of a Single-Trim Vehicle Strategy."
2. No-Haggle Sales
The no-haggle sales approach, or "pure pricing," was a unique sales strategy that Scion offered from the beginning. Just as it sounds, the dealer sets a price and that's what the consumer pays. No price negotiation involved. This sales process will be taken to Scion's grave.
On the bright side, this sales model was a great learning experience for Toyota and is being utilized elsewhere. According to a U.S.News article, Lexus is currently running a no-haggle pricing pilot and Toyota plans to offer an express purchase program. "Scion taught Toyota that consumers want transparent pricing and want to spend less time buying."
3. Attractive Standard Features and Accessories
It's not easy to find a new vehicle for under 20k that's stocked with a touch-screen audio system, alloy wheels, and a backup camera as standard features. Scion has found a way to appeal to a younger audience by making affordable cars with many standard technology features and several accessories to customize for cheap.
Hopefully, they continue to take this approach for the models they will offer through Toyota.
4. Awesome Ad Campaigns
You can't deny how awesome Scion's most recent ad campaign "Weird, Right?" was. If you haven't seen the ads yet and don't know what I'm talking about, you can view them here. Scion had just hired the ad network Droga5 to create this campaign that would give Scion one last push after its declining sales.
Fortunately, Toyota will not be changing their relationship with Droga5 at this point, as there are still more Scions to sell and they have been working on advertising the soon to be released Toyota hydrogen fuel cell. A Scion Spokeswoman mentioned in an AdAge article, "We'll make decisions on other marketing plans and partners at a later time."
It's sad to hear that Scion will soon be a memory, although they will live on for many more years to come with the million plus vehicles sold over the last 13 years. And for those who were really hoping to purchase a 2017 iA, iM, or FR-S, they will be available with the Toyota badge!