Toyota’s freakish and young Scion brand shifts to conventional cars, ads

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 1, 2012

For almost 10 years after Toyota introduced Scion with edgy music and eccentric vehicles, the sales of the sub-brand have declined far lower than their modest peak. Moreover, the customers of this youth-oriented brand are getting older. After a nine-month brand review, executives at Toyota are now targeting new automobiles at purchasers who are more conventional than the young ones who it chased at launch in 2003.

The FR-S, which is about performance, is a new sporty coupe that will arrive in showrooms in May. The iQ, which is a traditional low-priced econobox, went on sale in December. Even the advertisements are different. Rather than the edgy animation, which is now gone, the new rear-drive 200-hp FR-S is revealed in a commercial driving on scenic mountain roads as it drifts wildly through corners.

On the other hand, the iQ subcompact advertising highlights benefits and features, and not the supposed cool factor. In the meantime, the boxy xB compact, which is the classic Scion model, is on the bubble and may not be revamped. This model has been the bestseller of Scion for three of the last four years. Scion Vice President Jack Hollis related that they may not replace the xB by name, "one-for-one."

Executives at Toyota are saying that Scion has not re-evaluated and changed its original mission of catering to the needs of the young customers.

Hollis explained that he is not a "re-anything" kind of person, as a "relaunch means starting over." He further stated that instead, they take what they learned and move forward. The changing nature of the 70 million young individuals belonging to the Generation Y -- those born between 1980 and 1999 -- prompted the nine-month internal brand study.

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