Report: Toyota Says Some Dealers Can Drop Scion Brand

Toyota could cull Scion dealers.

Toyota may be willing for fewer of its dealers to carry the Scion franchise, in recognition of the fact that the funky brand has poor sales. According to Automotive News, Toyota officials told representatives at a recent dealer meeting that they could drop the Scion brand without facing any penalties.

Toyota officials reportedly said that Scion, “may not be for everybody” and advised dealers that, “if you don’t want Scion, if it doesn’t work for you, it’s OK if you want to walk away.”

Approximately 80 percent of Toyota’s dealers feature the Scion brand, which launched in 2002 to help the Japanese manufacturer capture younger buyers. At launch, Toyota said that Scion cars were aimed at the “Net Generation” and were considered a bit of an experiment.

Today, Scion sales are falling as the brand’s models age with few updates; the newest model is the Scion FR-S sports car that was jointly developed with the Subaru BRZ. Scion sales are down 1.8 percent year-over-year through July 2013, and the entire brand recorded just 6261 sales last month. Its most popular model, the tC coupe, sold only 1974 units in July — fewer than the Toyota Venza crossover or 4Runner SUV, and one of Toyota’s slowest-selling models in the U.S.

In an emailed statement, Toyota said that, “Scion encouraged its dealers to ask themselves if the Scion brand is still right for their market and their business. There is a perception among some dealers that they are expected to sell the Scion brand and this is not the case. Our dealers have the option to sell the Scion lineup.”

Although Toyota seems willing to let the number of Scion showrooms dwindle, the company reportedly showed two new models that could arrive in the next few years for dealers that stay the course. In addition to the long-rumored Scion FR-S convertible, the company previewed a compact crossover that would take on the Honda Fit-based crossover that is expected next year. According to AN, Scion’s model would be smaller than the Toyota RAV4 and had a “racy silhouette.”

Source: Automotive News

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