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by Jay Traugott
"Mojo: The libido. The life force. The essence. The right stuff. What the French call a certain... I don't know what." - Dr. Evil
It may sound hard to believe, but it’s been 10 years since Toyota launched its youth-oriented Scion brand. And although sales were very solid at first, today’s situation is quite different. Aside from the FR-S, which is really a rebadged Toyota GT-86/Subaru BRZ, there’s almost nothing in the Scion lineup that has true youthful appeal. But there’s another issue at play: those original Scion buyers are now older and are able to afford more expensive cars. Simply put, they're not returning to Scion.
Combined with the fact that it’s become increasingly difficult for younger people to afford a new car, Scion’s future is becoming increasingly uncertain. For example, today less than 15 percent of Scion buyers are under the age of 35 and nearly 14 percent are 65 or older. As expected, these demographics are translating into decreased sales. In 2006, Scion sold 174,000 vehicles. Last year it barely reached 74,000. Scion’s social media marketing and late night commercial advertising isn’t doing the job either. But perhaps the biggest problem Scion has is its lineup. With the exception of the popular FR-S, everything else is too polarizing (the IQ) or just downright bland (xB, tC).
So does this mean that Toyota may pull the trigger on Scion at some point? Not necessarily, considering that many Scion owners buy a Toyota as their next car. Yet without a fresh and, for lack of better word, hip lineup, Scion’s overall existence could be in question. After all, no car brand can survive forever on the success of one model alone.