Toyota aims to reduce dealers carrying Scion brand

Article by Anita Panait, on August 20, 2013

Toyota is trimming the number of dealers carrying its Scion franchise. Toyota told its retailers during a national dealer meeting in Atlanta this month that there are too many of them carrying the brand, and the carmaker would not mind if some of them drop Scion from their offerings. A Texas dealer told Automotive News that dealers were told that Scion may not be for everybody, since there is not enough “throughput.”

Toyota Division General Manager Bill Fay recently remarked to WardsAuto that Scion "has a few too many stores," and is looking at store viability across its dealers. Around 1,000 of Toyota's 1,225 dealers carry the Scion franchise, much more than what the carmaker had expected.

Toyota expected around half of its dealers to carry Scion when the brand was launched in 2003. However, Toyota dealers began carrying the brand not long after when Scion experienced strong demand for its xB hatchback and tC coupe.

Sales at Scion reached its peak in 2006, when 173,034 units were sold. After that, sales began its downward shift. Now, most of Scion offerings are aging and Toyota has shown a little indication of developing replacements.

Toyota, however, provided dealers who still want to carry Scion a glimpse of possible future products, one of which is a Scion FR-S convertible.

Toyota unveiled the FT86 convertible concept -- a rendering of Toyota's rear-wheel-drive GT86 coupe -- at the 2013 Geneva auto show. However, concerns within Toyota are up that the projected price point for the FR-S might be too high for Scion's target customer.

Toyota came up with its FT-86 Open concept after the global success of its driver-oriented GT86. The Toyota FT-86 was created to measure the reaction of customers to the possibility of a convertible version for the carmaker’s rear-wheel drive, front 'boxer' engine, compact 2+2 sports car.

The FT-86 Open concept has been designed to combine the GT86’s accessible, lively performance and readily exploitable, highly engaging, and dynamic abilities with higher levels of driving pleasure achieved through open-topped motoring.

Moreover, the FT-86 has a length of 4,240 mm, width of 1,775 mm, and height of 1,270 mm, plus a 2,570-mm wheelbase. The FT-86 Open concept also boasts multi-layered fabric roof construction, complete with a rear screen made of glass.

What’s more, the concept vehicle keeps the 2+2 seating format of the GT86. Its roof is also stowed at the back of its fixed rear seats with very little impact on luggage capacity.

The vehicle’s color combination is an intense contrast between modern navy blue and pure bright white, meant to express a feel of elegant performance and reflecting the atmosphere and spirit of one of the leaders in fashion design: Milan.

Topics: toyota, scion, dealer

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