• Mar 3, 2008

Click above for a high-res gallery of the Scion xB from our own review


Apparently, bigger is not necessarily better for Toyota's youth division Scion. The two original Scion models that launched with the brand were replaced by new models last year – the xD and xB – that are larger, heavier and less efficient. The buyers who made Scion a success in its first few years of existence have not been impressed, as sales have taken a dump over the last year and a half. A long gap between the end of production of the previous models and availability of new models certainly didn't help, but the new models have gotten decidedly mixed reviews including our own drive of the new xB. Even with the new models having been available now for six months or more, sales compared to the previous year have dropped for 16 months in a row. More Toyota dealers are selling Scions now, but sales per dealer have dropped from 11.9 in January 2006 to 8.1 in 2007. The Scions now have a bunch of new competitors in the subcompact class that they didn't have in 2003 when the brand launched, including the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa. Worse news still for Toyota is that more new competition is coming, like the Ford Fiesta transplant from Europe. Perhaps Scion's initial success was less a factor of offering attractive products than the fact it was the only game in town for small, efficient and hip econocars.

[Source: AutoWeek]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bring back the old xB and sales will return.

      They have to remember they were mostly selling their cars to a class of customer who could otherwise only afford a used car. Thus, increasing the entry price and the cost of ownership, even by making the product fancier, is going to hurt sales a lot.

      Go back to basics.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the Honda fit is economical without being ugly. The Aveo is cheap without being ugly and the Corolla is boring without being ugly. So Scion is left being... ugly.

      Because it's no longer particularly fuel efficient.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My wife drives a 1st gen xB, the car is light tossable, great on gas and a fun drive. Yes it is slow, noisy and not the greatest handling car in it's segment (although the bigger wheels/tires I put on helps) but it is a great car for the money. The new car has none of the old models attributes. Any wonder sales are down? Why would Toyota think adding 600lbs would be a good thing?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Caliber is a better car!
      • 6 Years Ago
      This can't be good for Ford's version of the xB...coming out later this year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Journalists love to play the game of "jump to conclusions". I don't think the larger, newer, cars can bear all the of blame. The economy has changed. Lenders may not be as generous as they used to be, making it harder for young buyers to obtain a loan. Plus, this second generation of Scions have more competition the previous did.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think what Toyota/Scion needs to do is rotate the models abit. And try to establish again a niche market for cute cars with Fuel efficiency.

      Start by either dumping the tC, shift it to Toyota Badging, or make it the new AE86.

      Also import some new model or models to the lineup. The Aygo from Europe, the rebadged Daihatsu Sirion/Toyota Passo or the Toyota Porte (or any of the other Vitz-based models) from Japan.

      And for god sakes, someone hire a new advertising agency. A demon-looking imp barfing onto a car is not a very good way to sell cars.




      • 6 Years Ago
      The people have spoken.
      Ugly Front, Nice trunk size but bad MPG...
      Xb should have stayed small and cute, I havent even test drove this model, it just doesnt appeal.

      Watch Nissans cube sell.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm not so sure the sales slump is toward anything Scion has done wrong with its latest models--I simply think that their targeted customers just aren't plunging into buying a new car just yet.

      Really, Scion has only been around what, three or four years? I don't think their pool of buyers have need for a new vehicle or an 'upgrade'. Toyota's not selling iPods, you know.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Aside from the Tc; I never understood why they sold well in the first place. A 5 year old could design something more attractive than the xa & xb. I've just never understood the appeal.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So true. I had an xA and loved it. Also liked the xB and was quite excited about the new versions.... till they came out. Gas gets more expensive and Toyota follows the American auto makers mistakes? Dumb.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice to see autoblog give the good ol boys a toyota story to run with, now i just know they are going to post this story any minute now....A slowing economy continues to take its toll on US truck sales. Total year-to-date sales volume fell 9.2% from the same period last year for the nation's Top 10 Selling Pickups, from 371,466 units to 337,205 units. The Toyota Tundra and Ford Ranger were the only strong sellers in the group.

      Ford Motor Company came out in better shape that expected. The number one selling Ford F-Series (F-150 and Super Duty) pickups dropped 6.5% year-to-date, compared to last year's 13.2% contraction, while Ford Ranger sales shot up 23.6%. The Ranger's increase could be due to buyers looking for fuel efficient small trucks or possibly a large fleet sale to a commercial buyer. The jump enabled the Ranger to leapfrog the Chevrolet Colorado into the number two position in small truck sales, behind the Toyota Tacoma mid-size pickup.

      General Motors suffered more than expected. GM's all new Silverado and Sierra light and heavy duty full-size pickups saw sales sizably contract. Silverado is off 17.4% and Sierra fell 9.6%. We're predicting higher incentives soon for both of GM's big trucks. Sales of the Chevy Colorado also lost ground, down 12.1% year-to-date.

      Chrysler took big hits. Dodge Ram light and heavy-duty truck sales shrunk 20% year-to-date, compared to a -2% pace all of last year. And Dodge Dakota (not in the Top 10) sales have fallen off a cliff - down 49% year-to-date compared to 2007. This poor performance comes after last fall's introduction of the freshened 2008 Dodge Dakota, which included an updated 4.7-liter V8. And to make matters even worse for Dakota, it's now being outsold by the much maligned Honda Ridgeline unibody pickup (not in Top 10) 5,779 units to 4,693 units year-to-date. Last year the Dodge Dakota outsold the Honda Ridgeline 50,702 units to 42,795 units.

      Toyota's truck sales remain strong. Tundra half-ton is up 62.2% year-to-date and came within 688 units of the GMC Sierra's combined half-ton and heavy-duty pickups. But Tundra sales appear weaker in 2008 than the pace they held in 2007. At current sales levels, we're forecasting the Tundra will sell approximately 164,000 units in 2008 - well below Toyota's stated business goal of 200,000 units and last year's year-end 196,555 number. Look for extra incentives coming to the Tundra also to help spiff its sales. Tacoma mid-size saw sales off 3.2% but it remains the best selling small truck.

      The Toyota Tundra appears to be having a large impact on Nissan. Titan half-ton sales are down 35%. We believe buyers looking for an import-badged full-size have permanently shifted their preference to the Tundra. Nissan Frontier mid-size sales are down 14.1%.

      With oil hitting new highs and gasoline prices up sharply to an average of $3.13/gallon in the week ended February 25, up 40% from $2.24/ gallon in January 2007, we're not expecting March to be any better than February.

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