Starting later this year, Scion will join a long list of vehicle brands — think Mercury, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn — in the dustbin of history, as Toyota plans to end production of the brand after 13 years.
The carmaker announced today that it would transition Scion into the Toyota brand starting in August when the 2017 lineup of vehicles are released.
Instead of a circular wave emblem imprinted with “SCION,” model year 2017 Scion vehicles will be rebranded with Toyota markings.
However, not every Scion model will be making the transition: the tC sports coupe will have a final release series edition and end production in August 2016. Other models, including the FR-S sports car, iA sedan, iM 5-door hatchback, and the new C-HR concept will live on under the Toyota banner.
“This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota,” explains Jim Lentz, the glass-half-full CEO of Toyota Motor North America. “Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network.”
Scion debuted in 2003 as Toyota’s way to explore new products and attract younger customers. Over the past 13 years, Toyota says Scion achieved its goals of developing unique products and becoming the youngest brand in the auto industry, with an average age of buyers at 36 years old.
The decision to phase out the Scion brand was made in response to consumers’ changing preference in looking for “traditional attributes of quality, dependability and reliability” that can already be found in Toyota, the company says.
Owners of Scion vehicles can still visit Toyota service department for repairs and other needs after the transition.
The more than 1,000 Scion dealers in operation are also Toyota dealers, so they will continue to operate normally, just without the Scion signage.
“We believe our dealers have gained valuable insights and have received a strong return on their investment,” Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations, said in a statement. “During this time of transition, we will work closely with them to support this process and help communicate this change to customers.”
Members of Scion’s team, representing sales, marketing, distribution, strategy, and product and accessories planning, will have the opportunity to take on new jobs at Toyota Motor Sales, while regional representatives will assume different responsibilities in their respective Toyota sales offices.