Scion plans to offer a larger range of models, including upscale cars

Published by Andrew Christian @andrew4wheels Google+ | Thursday January 13, 2011

Scion plans to offer a larger range of models, including upscale cars

To revive sales, Toyota Motor Corp.'s Scion brand may add more upscale models. The brand was launched in 2003 to attract young buyers in the U.S. with its unusual designs and low prices. At the Detroit Auto Show, Jack Hollis, Toyota's U.S. vice president who manages the Scion brand, said that the company is seriously thinking about presenting future Scions that would be priced higher than its current sub-$20,000 range. He said that part of Scion’s expansion would be to offer a larger range, from low-end to high-end.

Scion sales had climbed quickly after the nameplate's introduction throughout the U.S. Sales had peaked at 173,034 units in 2006. Since then, deliveries of xB wagons, xD hatchbacks and tC sport coupes have dropped.

In fact, sales last year totaled only 45,678 units. This is being attributed partly to an aging model line and the increasing jobless rate among young U.S. consumers, which is Scion's core buyer group. Hollis said that U.S. unemployment for those in their early 20s is about double the overall national average.

Craig Taguchi, a Scion spokesman, disclosed that the brand’s average customer is 37 years old, the youngest in the industry. In fact, buyers of tC coupes are only 29 years old on average.

Hollis said that as the brand has already hit its initial goal of drawing in the younger customers, it is now focused on attracting drivers with a “young mindset” who may also have higher incomes. [via autonews - sub. required]