• Aug 4th 2008 at 7:28PM
  • 104
Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2008 Scion xB.

My older brother Brian drives a Scion xD. He's 39 years old, and probably considered anything but cool by 18-24 year-old standards. He bought his little xD because he was tired of filling up his AWD 2001 Chevy Astro conversion van, and he's gone from getting 12 mpg to about 30. While that's a big-time win for Scion sales, the brand's marketing arm has to cringe. Scion was built to be Toyota's youth-oriented brand, with cars that would finally bring younger buyers into the Toyota showroom. The early days of Scion were a boon, with 80% of Scion buyers having never shopped Toyota before. Young people were clamoring for the xB and tC, and 100-200k online shoppers flocked to the Scion site each month.

Only a year after the redesign of the xB and xD, the Scion site is seeing less than half the traffic. Overall, year over year sales fell for 17 strait months until March, when gas prices skyrocketed. Even then, sales were back down by June, which was the peak of high fuel prices. The problems began to surface when the redesigned Scions were little more than larger versions of their former selves. A larger xB became more attractive to the mother of two, while losing some of the edginess that made it a smash hit with teens and early-20-somethings.

Scion's leadership would like to turn the tide by creating a fourth member of the Scion family that exudes cool for under $20k. It could be an SUV or a hybrid, but Scion execs want it to be free from the grasps of the parent company. The current models also have to be refocused to once again attract the coveted 18-30 crowd. That's a tall order, and a lot of work for a brand that's only five years old.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      So many of these comments are downright laughable. Especially by those clearly not a part of the Scion community, or who merely a passing interest in the brand.

      When I bought my tC, Scion wasn't even advertising it that much. I didn't see any commercials, and no print ads. It was common for you to wait up to a month for your Scion to get delivered because Scion purposely wanted to keep sales low.

      THAT'S what appealed to so many of us Scion OG's. It was exclusive, new, and had a great set of standard options at a great price. I remember the first time I got pulled over for tinted windows, and the cop didn't even know what brand my car was!

      Fast forward to today, and Scion is the most popular brand in its demographic. Everyone knows the tC is long in the tooth, and needs a redesign. Scion had a tough decision. Keep the brand image of an underground culture, with polarizing cars and limit the amount of sales, or make the money. I can't fault them for choosing the later, and since the redesign of the tC is right around the corner, a sales spike should be too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      With the exception of the Tc, I only see Scions driven by older people (50+) and I have heard some of them say they liked it because it was easy to get in/out of and practical. I work on a university campus, and I never hear students express a desire to buy a Scion (except for the Tc). Ironically, I think Toyota is basically getting the same buyers with the Tc that they used to get with the Celica.

      I think Toyota's marketing of Scion comes across as really trying to hard to be young and cool - it seems kind of forced. I think they looked at the So. California tuner culture and aspired to that, but failed to realize that that that it is a very limited niche. Most of their target market isn't into that scene.

      Lastly, the new Xb and Xd aren't that visually different from each other, and have a very "corporate Toyota" look to them that the original Xb and Xa didn't have; and park them next to their predecessors, and they look positively huge!
        • 7 Years Ago
        That may be very true in Southern California, but it certainly isn't true in all of the US. Yes, it may be a culture, but how does that translate into overall sales? If Toyota is content with Scion being a niche player, than it is a success, but if it is intended to be a popular gateway for young buyers to move up to Toyota, I have to question it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You guys need to visit Scionlife.com

        Do you know how many Scion specific car clubs there are in Southern California alone? My club is tC specific and our average owner is under 21.

        There are too many people on the outside looking in and trying to comment on a culture that they clearly don't understand or recognize. I have never seen so many young people be so passionate about a brand.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's gotten to the point that I've rebadged my gen 1 xB.
      It's now a Hummer H6.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "It's the economy, stupid."

      Their target group isn't the one with purchasing power. If they want it to work, make it cheap without making it "cheap".
        • 7 Years Ago
        Bingo, Yahtzee, DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!

        Tell him what he's won, Johnny!!

        The target demographic is the hardest demographic to sell to. VERY fashion-driven to the point of being very fickle. lots of desire, but not much economic force to back it up with.

        College students already have a lot of financial burden. High school graduates have less debt, but also less credential for earning power.

        Most people in that demographic don't have 20k sitting around for a car, and the very few who do, probably aren't buying scions, but rather nicer cars like Mini.

        That leaves people who finance or lease. That also takes a bit of income, which some do not have, and a lot of the demographic buy used, which are eminently more affordable, and a wiser choice for most in that position, as well.

        I know I wasn't buying new cars while I was in college. I did pay off a couple of them early, that were used cars, though.

        SO, you have a much smaller pool of demand for that demographic to buy new cars. Then you have competition from nicer cars, recently used nice cars, and you also have downward pressure from economics, like the falling dollar.

        Couple that with scions' love-it-or-hate-it stylng and you have a pretty small slice of the market.

        That is why muscle cars are enjoying a resurgence. 40-60 somethings, with empty nests, and some buying power are buying less practical cars, because they have the ability to.

        Teenagers may drive the purchasing habits of small things like ipods, cell phones, or clothing, or music and movies, but they don't have the ability to fulfil the demand of larger ticket items like cars, or houses, at least not right away, or without a lot of fiscal planning.

        To go after that 18-30 market, you have to be very flexible, and very lean, with not a whole lot of expectation for large margins. Even then it is probably quite difficult to keep up with.
        • 7 Years Ago
        great comments Tuna and MK - as a 26 year old that is comfortable financially and one that bought my current car 3 years ago I got far more by buying a gently used high end car, with a warranty, for the same price i would have paid for the Scion. Today my car is also still worth more than a Scion of a couple years newer.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm 17, and I haven't ever thought, "You know, I really want a Scion! They're cool, and Scion knows how to communicate with my age group."


      No. No current or former Scion appeals to me at all.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Scion should have stuck to the 1.5L engine that gave the XA and XB such awesome gas mileage.In this car market Toyota would be happy to sell to anyone whatever their age.If anything Toyota could have shook up the market by utilizing the 1.3L they use everywhere else.Maybe the new 1.3 stop start will see use in future Scions.The 1.6L Valvematic would be sweet in the XD
      • 7 Years Ago
      @ Tuna
      Ding! Ding! Ding! Right on the Mark!

      Haters Gone Wild should be the title for this story. Glad to see somebody on here with a brain and not being lead by the sheeple.

      My only criticism about Scion is they should rethink the options or lack of options on the xB & xD. They need to add some value to both of these models. Scion is hardly the only Auto Company facing economic problems.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm 21, and although I'm more of a muscle car guy (particularly GM), I actually like the 1st gen xB, as well as the tC (although it needs to just have the Corrola's motor). The xB anyway, WAS a fun/unique, fuel efficient, fairly spacious, and affordable ride. And for those who want more oomph than the original 1.5, Toyota should've just put the corolla's 1.8 in there WITHOUT fattening it up 600 lbs.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Since when did young people ever think Scion was "cool"? I'm 20 btw.
        • 7 Years Ago
        to Farris: I never said anything about xD's

        to BRIAN:WTF

        to 500: that makes sense.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, well JD Power gives you all the info.
        • 7 Years Ago
        What Farris meant was that, in your argument, you said
        average tC buyer is around 35, The xB, 36, and xA, 30. But you came to conclusion that average Scion buyer is 40. So, in order to have average of 40, we need xD with way more sales figure with very old average buyers.
        • 7 Years Ago
        x2, 25 now, far younger when the brand first came out. The only people i know with their cars are moms in their late 30s and early 40s.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Torrent and everyone,

        Keep in mind that most kids don't have any means to buy their first cars. All those teenage girls driving tC's got them from their daddies. So when someone calculates the average age based off sales receipts it shows the buyer as the 45 year old dad, not the 17 year old girl. That is the inherent problem with the average age calculations. They only take into account who bought the car, not who is actually driving it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Torrent, I'm not particularly a fan of Scion, but keep in mind the average Toyota buyer is over 50. So if Scion's buyers average 35-40, they are drawing a significantly younger demographic.
        • 7 Years Ago
        When did 20 become young? I'm 2 and a half and I hate the new Scions.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Torrent, if the average age of tC buyers is 35, xB is 36 and xA is 30, how is the total average 40?

        Are they really selling that many xDs to WAY older people?
      • 7 Years Ago
      What they need to do is remarket the brand to cater to the Fuel-Sipping economy right now.

      I've mentioned it before, but it wouldn't hurt Toyota to bring over the Aygo from Europe, maybe a couple of keicars from Japan, remodify the tC into a cheap RWD car (or outright replace it with a cheaper RWD platform) and discontinue the current lineup.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What they need to do is remarket the brand to cater to the Fuel-Sipping economy right now.

      I've mentioned it before, but it wouldn't hurt Toyota to bring over the Aygo from Europe, maybe a couple of keicars from Japan, remodify the tC into a cheap RWD car (or outright replace it with a cheaper RWD platform) and discontinue the current lineup.
      • 7 Years Ago
      my dad is 49 and he has a scion xA. he bought it bc it was cheap and good on gas.

      younger people like hondas. the only cool toyotas are the old ones like the supra old celicas the AE86 and the mr2 right now neither scion or toyota has anything appealing to young people within young people's budgets now what i find ironic is how acura was tired of young ppl driving their rsx modifieds so they got rid of the poor rsx. look at acura sales they are bad because old people that can afford them rather buy lexus.

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