Scion is dead. After 13 years, Toyota announced this morning that the alternative, youth-oriented, no-haggle brand would be killed off and most of its products — some very recently launched — rolled under the Toyota marque.
Toyota is describing Scion as “a laboratory to explore new products and processes to attract youth customers” that has achieved its “goals of developing unique products and processes, and bringing in new, younger customers to Toyota” and thus will be now “transitioning back to the Toyota brand.”
Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz, who was a founding vice president of Scion when it launched, said, “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 what happens to the cars? Well, most of them will survive. By August 2016, newly launched cars such as the Mazda2 sedan-based iA and the Toyota Auris-based iM hatchback will be re-branded as Toyotas and continue going on sale. Years from now, people will probably boast about owning a rare, one-year only Scion-badged example of these cars.
The FR-S sports coupe will also move under the Toyota umbrella. It’s not clear yet whether the FR-S name will remain, or if it will be called the GT86 or simply 86 (as it’s called in Europe and Japan, respectively). In any case, it is a move that many JNC readers feel should have been made right from the beginning when the car launched.
Part of this is because the famed AE86 that served as inspiration for the FR-S was always a Toyota. Also, that “86” badge on the fender really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when the numbers don’t appear anywhere else on the car, its owners manuals, or advertising materials whatsoever. Some even went so far as say it should be called Celica. We will soon see.
As for the Scion tC, well, pour a shot of 87 octane on the curb because this tuner favorite is being put out to pasture. There will be a final release edition this summer, after which production will end in August. It was announced in 2014 that the current-gen xB would be its last iteration, and the xB will stay dead.
Oh Scion, we hardly knew ye. We will miss your off-kilter artist-collab advertising and free house music CDs that no one ever listened to. We think of the auto industry as slow-moving, working on years-long product cycles. Even as recently as last November, Toyota was still debuting Scion-badged concepts like the C-HR at major auto shows. These reveals often have a year-long lead times, and the iA and iM just started going on sale in December. But it just goes to show, quick decisions with far-reaching consequences can still be made extremely quickly.
Thirteen years is a long time. Daihatsu only lasted six years in the US market. Speaking of which, does this have anything to do with Toyota’s announcement last week that it was going to buy Daihatsu and a global small car brand? We are reaching out to Toyota for comment and will update if any new information arises.