Although discontinued, Scion was once one of the most forward brands in the automotive industry. It was created to get younger people to purchase more Toyota vehicles. Keep reading to learn about the evolution of the company, some of its most popular vehicles, and more.
How the Company Got Started
In the late 1990s, Toyota created a campaign that was aimed at getting younger people to buy their cars. Even though it was one of the biggest car manufacturers at the time, the company still wanted to build its audience. The project led to the development of several cars branded with the Toyota brand, although they were not satisfied with their progress. By 2002, they had rebranded the project and named it “Scion”. The first vehicles were the bbX and ccX. In 2004, they revealed two more vehicles (xA and xB) that became available nationwide in over 105 dealerships. New cars were released at both the New York Auto Show and the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show.
After releasing several other generations, Scion’s popularity started to drop. Younger buyers were not purchasing as much as the company hoped, so by 2016 the company had begun to phase out.
The Scion logo remained unchanged in its 19-year history. It features a black background encased in a chrome circle. The name of the company can be found in the middle of the logo in a futuristic black font. According to 1000 Logos, it “shows the brand as strong and confident, progressive and creative.”
Scion was a successful company in its early days. The new, unique style of vehicles proved to bring a new light that Toyota had not seen for quite some time. The first big spike in sales happened in their second year of business (2004), when the company went from selling 10,898 vehicles to 99,259 in under 12 months. According to CarSalesBase, their highest year in sales was 2006. During this time, Scion sold 173,034 vehicles. However, a continual downfall happened post-2006 for the company. Strangely enough, they did end up selling 51,158 models before their final year in existence.
Scion’s short-lived history shows that although they may not have succeeded in the long-term, they were a part of something larger – bringing unique and high-quality vehicles to the automotive market.
Most Popular Models
Scion created several popular models during its history, some of which are still highly sought after today. In 2013, they released the FR-S – a rear-wheel drive, two-door coupe that was both stylish and affordable. Critics at AutoWeek called it a “competitor to the untouchable Miata” because it was so much fun to drive and aesthetically pleasing. These vehicles could be easily customized, providing customers with the chance to enhance their driver experience. They can be found used for anywhere between $17,000 and $23,990.
Another popular model was the xB, which is known as a “cube car” to many. It is a 4-door vehicle with a hatchback (sometimes called a 5-door) and was modeled after popular Japanese vehicles. There were many generations that came out of the xB, but one of the most popular years was 2006. They can be found for anywhere under $6,000 today, making them a great and reliable used car for drivers.
Other models include the Scion TC, xA, xD, iQ, iM and iA.
Because Scion is underneath Toyota (a Japanese brand), most of the cars were manufactured in Japan. They were exported to the United States.
Unique Facts About the Scion
Perhaps the most unique thing about the Scion brand was their philosophy on price. They wanted to provide young drivers with an affordable way to look stylish on the road, without sacrificing quality, style, or safety. This led them to come up with the “pure price” concept. Essentially, the price on the sticker was what the customer paid for the vehicle. No fluff, no markups – just one flat price. While there were still options to add-on and customize the car, this was completely up to the customer. This was monumental for young people, who often are uneducated about the vehicle-buying process.
Unfortunately, Scion never got the chance to hop on the electric or hybrid vehicle market before the brand was discontinued. Green Car Reports shared a previously-published interview with the Scion chief Doug Murtha, who stated “People think that this would have a lot of appeal with our target audience; and it absolutely does, and the environmental benefits are nice, but where it jumps the track is when we start talking about how much they might be willing to pay for a hybrid system: pretty much zero.”
So, Scion’s main holdup about releasing hybrid vehicles was the price point – relating back to the brand’s philosophy on the pure price movement in an effort to try and bring affordable vehicles to a younger market.
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