Scion is changing approach to fit evolving market

Article by Anita Panait, on January 22, 2014

Scion is modifying its marketing and product-planning approach as its market continues to evolve. "A lot of our early stuff was menacing and sinister, and that appealed to an edgy, cynical consumer," Scion vice president Doug Murtha told Automotive News said in an interview at the Detroit auto show.  He said that Scion buyers "want a little more daylight, a little less Gotham,” noting that they have to differentiate the youth brand from Toyota.

Murtha said that while it is enticing to place Gen Y buyers in a convenient psychographic box, the 2004 “millennials” had very different beliefs from those who are reaching driving age today.  

He remarked that today’s young adults do not have a strong economy and a cash-rich parental safety net to underpin their values. "We are still targeting 18- to 34-year-olds, but 60 percent of that demographic bucket has changed since we came to market,” Murtha said, noting that their makeup and experiences are different.

He said that their current target market is more resourceful, less self-centered, but is still independent-minded. He remarked that while in 2004, young buyers "expected all the bells and whistles,” they are now more pragmatic “about things they are not able to pay for."

He remarked that while Scion located its pricing range into the mid-$20,000s with the FR-S and has studied placing other cars in that band, it has no intention to lose the value component to the brand. “We need to keep a foot in the entry part of the market," Murtha said.

The forceful Scion FR-S exterior solidly reflects the power found inside it. The silhouette draws inspiration from the Toyota 2000GT, revealing a bonnet and roof outline that is incredibly smooth and low. This creates a streamlined form that directs air efficiently over to the vehicle’s top. The low position maintains the exaggeration of coupe's fierce front that comprises sharp edges, a broad lower intake, and sharp headlamps housing projector-beam halogen lights.

The forceful fenders in front jut up and bear the signature '86' piston emblem, which accents the vehicle's AE86 legacy as well as its new singular boxer engine. The rear face is low-slung and broad, with streamlined lower accents that encircle the sporty twin exhaust system. LED lights shine through the sharp taillamps, while centrally mounted backup lights complete the brawny design.

The Scion FR-S will come in seven colours including Raven, Asphalt, Hot Lava, Argento, Ultramarine, Firestorm, and Whiteout.

Performance-focused cabin

The cabin of the Scion FR-S includes 2+2 seating configuration designed with considerations to form and function. The comfortably assertive seats in front feature thick bolsters with an extremely low position, and the rear seat can fold flat down, providing flexibility in space. It will have as standard the unique floor mats with FR-S emblems.

The large centre-mounted tachometer draws the main attention in the three-gauge configuration and has a customisable shift-indicator. This has a small but strong indicator that illuminates when reaching the redline. The driver can program the warning to light up in 100-rpm steps, beginning with 2,000 rpm. A sound can be set to go off when nearing the redline. Digital and analogue gauges display speed for monitoring.

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