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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)*

Really good article - much longer and better than here.
130,000 Sales = Cult Car?

By Jim Henry, Contributor

Date posted: 05-21-2008

In the beginning the music pumped from giant subwoofers, cans of spray paint clattered and hissed and hyper-sexed kids crowded closer.
Stodgy old Toyota had introduced a car that seemed to be more art than transportation, a radical statement of cool simplicity, anti-consumerism and plain old American cheapness. You know — Scion.

You remember Scion, don't you?
That initial exhilarating burst of discovery, as if a car had been designed expressly for anyone who had ever been to Hot Import Nights.
Those first Scion-sponsored owner gatherings, the wildly modified concept cars and the row of sales tents by aftermarket manufacturers.

Then Scion became a success. Every Toyota dealer wanted a Scion outlet.
Scion sales climbed from 10,898 cars for a few months in 2003 to 99,259 in 2004. By 2006 the total had reached 173,034.

Yet there's a sense that the party is over.
The lights at Hot Import Nights have gone dark and there's the nagging suspicion that this whole party might have simply been the ultimate branding exercise, low-rent goods dressed up in snappy T-shirts.

Is this it for Scion's 15 minutes of fame?
Overall, the median age of the Scion driver is 30, the youngest in the industry. And 72 percent of Scion drivers are new to Toyota.

These demographics are a central reason Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. launched Scion in 2003, hoping to offset the graying of the mainstream Toyota brand and the upscale Lexus division.

The problem for Scion isn't whether the right people are buying Scions; it's that fewer people are.
Missing a Rising Tide

Scion sales fell almost 25 percent last year, from 173,034 in 2006 to 130,181 in 2007. Meanwhile, Scion's overall competitive segment, which also includes cars as diverse as the Mini Cooper and the Nissan Versa, gained 3.5 percent to almost 300,000 vehicles in 2007, according to AutoData Corporation, in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Tough Sales in Tough Times

In the first quarter of 2008, total Scion sales fell more slowly but were still behind the same quarter in 2007. At the same time, the competitive segment gained even more. Scion sales 39,146 in the first quarter, while AutoData's "small specialty" segment gained 10 percent .
Somehow the just previous text got messed up at Edmunds. No problem, we can fix that. So for now Scion - 3.64% segment +10%
As data from shows, when Scions were hot in 2005 and 2006, they spent fewer than 20 days on dealer lots between delivery and sale, but the interval stretched to about 40 days in 2007 and the overall economic slowdown in 2008 produced a 57-day turnover in April.
- Collins says Scion had so many unsold cars in 2007 that Toyota gave dealers a break by holding cars at its port facilities, so as not to burden dealers with too much inventory. Because dealerships borrow money to finance their inventory, it's expensive for them to have unsold cars sitting on their lots.

Collins also says dealers have given Toyota an earful, -
Here is the raw data to correct the missing text. ( APRIL )
..................April'06. April05........dsr%......YTD'06......YTD'05...dsr%
SCION xA... 3,331... 2,671.......... 29.5..... 10,494....... 8,607... 23.1
SCION xB... 5,678... 6,002......... -1.8....... 18,648..... 18,471......2.0
SCION tC... 6,435... 7,129.......... -6.3....... 22,658......21,696.....5.5

SCION xA... 0,008.. 1,454......... -99.5........0,031...... 6,799..... -99.5
SCION xB... 4,220.. 1,173......... 232.1.. ..15,890...... .9,673...... 62.7
SCION tC... 4,119... 5,333......... -28.7.. ..14,409.... .20,426......-30.1
SCION xD... 2,913...0.000...............-........ 8,816......00,000........-

Actually, thats four months worth - so the first trimester.

Here's the correct one - 3 months worth. ( MARCH )

......... 4.... 1,865...... -99.8........... 23..... 5,345.... -99.6
.. 4,527.... 2,799....... 74.2.... 11,670..... 8,500..... 39.1
4,082.... 6,314...... -30.4.... 10,290... 15,093.... -30.9
SCION xD.. 2,518.......... 0..............-....... 5,903............ 0........... -

27,886 /\ 28,938 .... ie - 3.64% for the first quarter of calender Yr. 2008. Segment up + 10%.*

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Winterkorn, who owns three xBs and is considering a fourth one, said it was a "no-brainer" to buy his first Scion. "Let's see, this car is a Toyota, it's $14,000 and it gets 30 mpg. Let's buy it!" he says.

FenwickHockey65, who owns three GM vehicles and is considering a fourth one, said that it was a "no-brainer" to NOT buy a scion. "Let's see, this car is a toyota, it's ugly as all hell, and I can get a Malibu that looks light years better and gets 34 MPG for $3,000 more. Let's not buy it!" he says.

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6,979 Posts
What damaged Scion? The xA and xB replacements seriously jumped the shark. They put on a lot of weight and not fuel efficient enough. Yes, I know the cracks started before the introduction of the xD and second generation xB, but that is bound to happen with cars at the end of their lifespan. The new models are not showing good enough sales. Perhaps some mid-cycle updates could have helped out.

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7,724 Posts
Just as Saturn's sales performance may not make that much sense either does Scion in a market with four dollars a gallon gas the all small car brand should be doing well. The economy is slow so that is one reason for its slow down but I guess the other is that Scion was launched to what amounts to a party ad campaign however like all parties it comes to an end. Scion needs a real business plan for success something that they have not really laid out yet and were just riding on the surge created by that party.

Part of the issue is that the market wasn't as crowded back then as it is now and with some good cars in it.

Honda Fit

For $14,000 you get this small car with a stick which is rated to get 34MPG on the highway which for the new generation of net buyers it looks so much better on paper.

May not be the best looking but for $11,500 it gets 36MPG which does have a Toyota badge on it which there are probably a good number of people who might not know that a Scion is a Toyota.

Want a small car with more style and class then a Scion then for $18,000 this can be yours and it gets 37MPG on the highway.

The new Chevy Aveo 5 which the out going model starts at around $10,000 so the new model shouldn't be that much more costly. Its also est. to get 34MPG highway.....

To sum it up the Scions are either too costly or do not get good enough MPG or both.

· Banned
2,273 Posts
Why do small cars in general, no matter who makes them, have to be so goddam ugly???? Econoboxes are hideous. I wouldn't mind one if it looked cool, but they're just ugly and I don't buy ugly cars. If I have to spend more on gas, I'll do it.

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4,229 Posts
I didn't care much for the original Scion boxes, but I kinda like the new Xd. Seems like all the cars in this segment look kinda ugly. That new Aveo front end posted above is truly ghastly. I wish someone would make a Honda CRX sized fast back design but updated for the new millenium. And make it get 40+ MPG. I would definitely buy something like that.


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Oh America123 you just love the doom and gloom. Why don't you post Aprils numbers for Scion? I'll tell ya why because they were UP! Just keep thinking Toyota is on the way down it will help you sleep better at night.:D

Like the rest of the industry, new models and new versions of small cars proved to be the underpinnings of the success that Toyota enjoyed in April.
Yaris subcompact sales, for example, rose by 58 percent in April and have spiraled upward by 58 percent for the year as well. April was the second-best month ever for Yaris, which was introduced last year as a replacement for the Echo subcompact. The fact that consumers can get up to 40 miles a gallon with a standard-transmission Yaris is providing a huge lure in important Toyota markets such as California, where $4-a-gallon gasoline already has been spotted.
Just as significant is the fact that sales of the Prius hybrid, no longer supply-constrained, continue to post impressive increases. They rose 67 percent in April and are up 23 percent year to date. For the second month in a row, Prius sales were at least 20,000 units. One illustration of the growing volume importance of Prius, noted Caldwell of, is that it has outsold the Toyota Tundra pickup truck so far in 2008.
Toyota’s Scion line of small, youth-oriented models posted increased sales in April as well.
Meanwhile, sales of Camry – the midsize that has ranked as America’s best-selling car for several years running – rose by 6 percent for the month.

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500 Posts
This article must be a mistake ... Toyota can do no wrong! I laugh everytime I see one of those ugly boxes go by and think "Hmm, I wonder what the car that came in that container really looked like."

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I have to be honest, I'm not surprised at all. The 1st-gen xB and the xA were great looking little vehicles, IMO... and if you haggled right, you could get them for a really good price. My sister has a 1st=gen xB, and I think it's a brilliant car to experience. (She's the only Toyota owner in the family, the only person who was willing to put up with the standard Toyota-jackass-dealer experience)

Then Toyota decided to break what wasn't broken, by making their two box-models ugly, bloated, less fuel-efficient, and more expensive, not to mention less practical and more annoying to drive. What did they THINK was gonna happen after doing that?

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2,892 Posts
Why do small cars in general, no matter who makes them, have to be so goddam ugly???? Econoboxes are hideous. I wouldn't mind one if it looked cool, but they're just ugly and I don't buy ugly cars. If I have to spend more on gas, I'll do it.
It's the same as buying a pair of sport shoes, the $150 are cool as heck, yet the $50 pair looks cheap and bland; funny thing is except for the sole, they're the same damn pair of shoes.

The Scion's are not good looking at all, except for the coupe one, unfortunately, the coupe is too heavy and looks just like the G6.

My guess is Scion will probably hang around, because all they are is re-skinned Toyoda's and all they do is fill manufacturing capacities which they have overseas.

· Banned
1,587 Posts
I don't know that their on the way out but the problem is that a brand made for youth is being driven by grandpa and grandma. This takes away that gotta have it to be cool thing. Also, consumers are waking up to the inflated price and low performance return on investment. Even in their own showrooms, they can be drastically undercut by basically the same machine. With money tight a $9 -13,000 Aveo with a 100,000 mile warannty starts to look real good in comparision.
5,936 Posts
From my perspective, it seems the xB had unique lines when it first came out. Well, actually, it is basically a Toyota Element. The tC seems to be the Celica which Toyota stopped making.

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Hello gentlemen! first post here - saw thread about Scion and as a new Yaris hatchback 5sp manual owner as of last fall felt compelled to register and post on this thread.

I'd like to say a few things about my experience with Toyota's marketing machine, their Scion marketing, scion cars and the Yaris itself.

1. First off my experiences with Toyota's coustomer service/dealers: - in a word they "suck". It took me NEARLY A YEAR to get my Yaris. Why? because the morons in Toyota central (Japan I assume) did not import that amny Yaris's the first three years they were out. 10-percent or less to the numbers to Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe (per percentage of populaton. So this meant when I'd go to the dealer wanting to test drive the Yaris back in 2006 - there were no cars to test drive!!

2. Similarily to above: of those few actually imported to the US: 80-percent were the Sedans (which is not really a Yaris - but a rebadged Vios? (or some such). A strickly American model "Yaris". the whole car is different, it is 50-percent bigger even!! So I did find a few Sedans on the lot - but i wanted the smaller hatchback, and there were none for me to drive in early 2006.

3. Got to drive one in Summer 2006 finally. - Problem (again): there were vertually no Manual transmission hatches - I simply love shifting and loath automatics (just my thing). Well Toyota only imported maybe 1/10th as many manuals than autos.

So we have 1/10th world production going to US, then only 20-percent are Hatches then only 10 percent of those are 5sp manuals.....................pickings are becomeing real small that this point.

4. Another problem: of the few manual hatches I find out by fall of 2006 that NONE have any upgrade options!!! I wanted power window.....sorry. In Toyota's "wisdom" if you want a Yaris hatch manual you will not want the "power package" uprade - and so we will not even offer it!!! i was entering the world of the Obsurd att his point. I had walked into the Dealer with 15k of cash to buy a Yaris Hatch manual with power windows and the TURNED ME OUT! Said i was asking for the impossible - and that I sould "just buy the automatic, most of them have the Power Package" - hell no, don't want that I want manual with power windows. So then they try to sell me a Scion Xa!!..if I wanted a Scion i would not be trynig to buy a Yaris!

Appearently Toyota in America division thinks that an Automatic is an "upgrade" from a Manaul and so only an insane person would not want that "upgrade" but want the other upgrade options (like power windows/mirrors/ slading back seats/split back seats/back seat with headrests).

After being told that manuals with power package "did not exist" - I went to Google. Well the top selling car in Western Europe is in fact the Yaris Hatch 5sp manual with power options (sold 270,000 of them). Did out of state google seaches and actualyl found many with same options in Toronto Canada and a few in Miami Florida.

At this point my experience with Toyota was not going so well (fall 2006). they tell me the 270,000 cars above "did not exist", and I had to do my own homework and call them out on there lies to me.

Spring of 2008 I inform another dealership (I no longer bothered with the other dealership that told me the Yaris "did not exist") of what I want. They say very very few with the options I want are shiped to the US (that being basically a small fuel effiecent version of the yaris!!! (again manual with power options) - who would have thought! gee!).BUT WAIT!! they tell me i can ORDER IT with a 500 cost down!! And a 8-month wait.

I agree and give then 500 with the promise from them that they were "ordering the Yaris" - with the options I requested and the color I wanted (Black - not many in that color (par for the course)) straight from the Japanese factory. they insisted that this was not a "preference" or "dealer swap" and that is why it would take 8-months.

Well, I got the run around the first 4 month - kept being told that "its in the order que and will arrive in 3-4 months...........blah blah blah...........

Finally after 6-months i was told that they in fact could NOT order it. and that the process was indead a "preference"!!! (they basically LIED to me) and that Yaris with 5sp and power windows "did not exist". I of course was pissed - demanded my 500 bucks back, informed them that THEY DO EXIST and that you can get them in Florida and the Northeast with the two options I wanted. they just basically said "go there and get one then".

I then called another dealer ni the area and asked then if I could find the car online and give them the dealership's number if they would do an "out of region" dealer swap (this is done rarely - but it does happen if the dealerships involved wish to value their customers): they refused!! They told me to drive to Maimi or fly there to get my car!!! (mind you this is a 13,000 car!!!! it would be dumb to spend alot of month just to get to the car lot with the car on it!).

I finally figured it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! took me long enough!! Toyota makes no money on this cheap car so they don't give a **** if they sell any and they let you know it as soon as you walk into their shwofloor!!

Long story short after 1-1/2 of bull**** I found the car I was looking for (not the color though) in the nieghboring state (that dealer found the car in his nighboring state and did a "in-his-region" delaer swap. i had to drive 180 miles each way to pick it up.

I have since found out that quite literally the number of Yaris's hatches with manual and power package upgrade options (outside of the US they number at least 350,000) shipped into the United States numbers around 20 a year!!! - no ****.

Pure-shear stupidity.

In spite of Toyota's best efforts of killing off this great little fun car, through castrating any and all options and ****ty customer service, it seems to be selling decently in the US now.

You cannot imagine how many times they would stear me to the Scion Xa - it would have been funny had the whle exerience not be such a nightmare.

As for Scion - that brand as gotton piggish - they new offerings are basically SUVS!! huge lumbering barges.

The morons at Toyota should have badged the Yaris and the new Xa.................


I will never never never deal with the idiots at Toyota ever again (...............unless they offer the Toyota IQ - then I'll probably be a hypocrite and buy one )).

I wish I could have found a car SMALLER than my Yaris - i never used the back seats. don't need them.

I hope ANYONE will offer a little car (Fiat 500? /Subaru R1? (mircocar/kei car) ?........just ****ing anyone ok?......I really dont want to buy another Toyota)

no - not the Smart that thing is a toy and not mechanically sound and its markup is a joke. boutique "hey look at me I'm cool-green" type car.

I'd just like a normal micro-car like all the ones over in Europe (Citroen C1 etc....). not a boutique item.

Samrt mileage is no better than my Yaris either!

- end rant.

thank you for your time.
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