• May 20, 2006

Scion, Toyota's "youth" division, was launched three years ago this June, and the brand has much to celebrate on its third birthday. By offering up three cars that all start off under $17,000, Scion has gone some way toward redefining the term "entry level." Given parent Toyota's marketplace might, the upstart marque has gone to great lengths to associate itself with all things trendy and customizeable, resulting in a combination that garnered sales of 150,000 units in 2005 alone. Having a marketing arm employing what many in the industry have referred to as a "brilliant" viral marketing strategy seems to have worked wonders.

So... does Scion's combination of inexpensive wares and funky marketing rub you the right way? Have your say in 'Comments.'

[Sources: BusinessWeek; Scion]



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  • 29 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      i own an xB, and couldn't be happier. 30mpg, fun to drive, and styling that i like. add the BA taillights and door sill enhancements, and i've got a darn fine looking automobile. and everyone who rides in it raves about it.

      i agree with the STI/xB guy above. two cars, two purposes.

      i am now saving for a wrx. (sti would be hell to insure)

      funny thing about the marketing campaign? it doesn't work. the biggest proponents of the xB (besides me)? My 78 year old grandfather and my 50 year old dad. they haven't seen one commercial or poster.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As a eeaarrly adopter of the xB I can easily say I've heard it all. It's truly interesting to drive one of the most polarizing vehicles of all time. Ive been mocked by fat middle aged white men and given thumbs-up from people in six digit supercars. The blind fanboyism and the bile soaked haters seem to be intensely drawn to the car for no explicable reason. Toyota could easily make the xb the modern vw beetle and just crank it out for years and years with only incremental change. Thank God they won't! I love the car and easily consider it the best automotive decision of my life. But im very glad they will stop making it soon.

      For those that consider toyota a genius: i consider the tC somewhat of a misstep it's a great car and an unmatched value in the market. It's just not for me. After owning a wrx I'm rather certain that FWD and performance aint brother and sister. Sure fwd cars can go fast and make turn but seldom in a very fun way.

      Also don't forget that toyota thought the xA was going to be the big seller with the xB as the funky niche selling sister. This meant twice as many xA's in initial shipments than xB's. The xA should have been $500-$1000 cheaper and been the yaris 3door that's current generation is selling here now. Instead everyone realised that the car is like a xB thats slightly sporter with way less room. So among the early adopters the xB won big time and the xAs sat on the lot. Not anymore though as toyota has fixed thier production numbers. What will the next gen bring? I'm guessing a slightly bigger xb on the corolla platform with the tC engine built stateside.But thats just a guess.

      For the haters: I love when people talk about "all the old people" that buy xB's and the only people that buy them are "soccer-mom's" and what-not. Even bloggers here on autoblog trot that out like its fact. Last I checked scion brand cars still average the lowest average age of ANY brand sort in the U.S. at IIRC 38. Since the average age of a camry buyer is nearly at 60 this was an incredibly smart "we can't afford to turn into GM " move.

      Also with everyone jumping on the small car bandwagon lately do you really think its in direct response to the cost of fuel? Even radically short development cycles(think solstice) are still 2+ years . All these small cars are simply a response to toyotas lead. Sadly nobody else is picking up the "price-pricing" strategy of satur..err...scion to move the new fashion forward compacts.

      As far as the mazda3(esp the 5door) great car but with a third tier dealer network and a worryingly dismal cost of ownership for an "economy" car it's sadly still a better used car than new.

      Like it or not Scion is an inadvertant home run from toyota don't look for it to go away anytime soon.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with #14. I had a Scion tC and it has quality problems, espescially with the roof rattling. It is so annoying. There are also fit and finish issues on the dashboard. No wonder the car comes at such a cheap price. I would have preferred to pay a little more rather than have those problems. Otherwise, the car looks fine and the acceleration is awesome with manual transmission.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I like when people like their rides. I love the Tc styling, and not at all warmed by the Xa nor the Xb. The thing that shocks me is this: All the technology awareness by the foreign students and younger guys on this site and no one criticizes the 4 speed slush box automatics, paired with the low torque, underpowered 4 cylinder engines. When GM pairs a 4-speed with a 275hp, 300lb/torque engine, the foreigners scream about the archaic GM technology. Go figure?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a flint mica Scion tC with iPod integration and 7 airbags. I like the car a lot, but it has huge quality concern. The sunroof has an obvious problem with rattling and the dealerships refuse to service it. Each time I take it in they say that they will look at it, they use up a 1/4 tank of my gas, give me the keys back and say that they couldn't replicate the sound yet it it constantly sounding like the sunroof is about to fall off.

      I would much rather drive a Hyundai Sonata (i'm 19), but you can't get iPod integration in those. When the new Elantra comes out, and it has an auxiliary input for once, I may trade my tC in on that. The tC needs better gas mileage, better quality and a better dealer body.

      Has anyone else who has bought a Scion had extended warranties shoved down their throat? They always push them onto young female shoppers, but when I bought this car they even went after me. How sleazy? I kind of wish I got one though after finding out how clunky the car is.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This bears an eerie resemblance to a marketing ad. C'mon guys, can't you be even a little covert about the fact Toyota paid you to promote this.
      • 8 Years Ago
      In my area, the xb has been bought by A LOT of folks old enough to have a couple of kids, because of all the space. I rarely see a "kid" drive one. The xa seems to be bought by women who can't afford a bigger car, but they want all that Toyota quality.
      My bitch about the cars? For such a TRENDY product, most of the ones I see are painted such boring, anonymous colors. (The yellow xb, excepted.)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I love Scion! Their cars are really nice for the money. No, the xA and xB aren't powerful - but they're not intended to be. They're intended to be fun people-movers - a party car, if you will. And they are.

      To all the naysayers: You're probably not in their target market anyway. I'm not sure why you are so quick to attack a product that was obviously not meant for you.

      In the meantime, I'll save up for an xB. :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      #12: Yeah, wind sucks in the xB.

      Say what you will about quality. I will repeat that my xB has never been to the shop in two years, 21000 miles.

      And if I wanted to be like everyone else, I'd go with a Mazda as well. Some call them sheep.
      • 8 Years Ago
      mavkato => hahah...so sorry
      • 8 Years Ago
      I like Scion. I got to test drive a tC not too long ago and liked it. But it was a little pricey.

      I know these cars were aimed towards the young crowd but I dont know any 18-25 year olds who can afford these. Everyone I know in this age range drives a car that cost between 1500 and 4000 dollars.

      I will admit they are cheap (price wise) but not cheap enough...

      But Congrats Scion!
      • 8 Years Ago
      #7
      But but but...that's different!
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