Toyota just killed the Scion brand

The automobile graveyard is getting a new customer. Toyota is discontinuing its Scion brand. If you remember Scion at all, it’s probably because of the Scion xB, that boxy little car that everyone thought looked like a toaster on wheels, and inspired a handful of equally-ugly knockoffs like the Nissan Cube. I’ve got to hand it to the Scion exec for putting the best possible spin on this:

Scion was aimed at a young market (18-34). It briefly became popular about 10 years ago. But then gasoline stopped being $4/gallon, and nobody wanted minicars anymore. In any case, marketing cars toward young buyers was always a fairly questionable strategy. Most young people can’t afford a new car.

Still, the timing of this move is a bit surprising. Toyota just added a bunch of new models this year to try to revive the brand. I’m guessing some sort of internal political shift must have happened at Toyota if they decided to drop the axe (uh, samurai sword?) now.

Scion currently has 4 models: the tC, FR-S, iA, and iM. The tC is the last model that was specifically designed for Scion. It’s getting discontinued this summer. The rest are the new models, and were just re-badged Toyotas. They’re getting folded back into the standard Toyota line.

I had an xA and I loved it! It was a great little commuter and great for errands, and I was over 50 when I bought it - so much for the youth market! My sister now owns that car - she’s 50 and she loves it. I was sorry to see that model discontinued and now the whole brand goes away. Such is life, I guess…


I have a 2011 Scion xB and I love it. I was waiting for an electric or hybrid version, then I was gonna trade mine. Looks like that’ll never happen now.

My xB is the best car I’ve ever owned. It’s comfy for road trips, gets great gas mileage and has loads of room for hauling stuff; I moved nearly everything myself from one house to another when I bought my home in 2013.

Plus, I see xBs all over the place here in Las Vegas. Taxi companies use them, thousands of people own them. Based on observation, I thought they were among the most popular cars on the road; I guess I was wrong.

Actually, the xB was discontinued last year.

The Scion XB looked like the box the Honda Element came in.

Upon further thought, it looks like nobody is really that interested in selling small cars in the US right now. Smart and Mini sell in abysmally small numbers, and I’m honestly surprised Daimler and BMW still bother importing them here.

Mitsubishi is moving to an entirely SUV & crossover-based lineup. The Gallant is gone, the Lancer Evolution is getting discontinued this spring, and reports are the regular Lancer is on its last generation. (Oh yeah, there’s also the electric i-MIEV, easily the most sad-sack car currently in production, with sales to match. Only 115 were sold the in US last year. The only reason it hasn’t committed seppuku yet is because Mitsi needs a compliance car for the California market.)

I had an '88 Tercel for years and years and when the tranny finally went, I wanted another Tercel. The salesperson said, “Oh, we stopped making them last year. Now we have the Scion.”

She showed me a picture of a cheesebox on wheels.

I had to try not to laugh in her face and say, “Are you serious? I wouldn’t be caught dead in that thing!” Instead I politely declined, went out, and bought a Saturn SC2.

The difference is size is negligible: the Honda Element was 72 c.f. with the rear seats folded down; the Scion xB was 71 c.f. I know this because the Element was the only other car I seriously considered buying. The fact that it’s gas mileage was 10 mpg under the xB was the deciding factor.

To me the only scion that looked cool was the FRS, and that was a vehicle they built together with Subaru which badged it as the BRZ. Scions looked like good starter cars and little else, I don’t see this as any huge loss.

I blame the “c.”

Kinda off topic, but we just got back from Costa Rico, where Toyota and Hyundai were clearly the most popular cars. Weird to see a bunch of models different from the ones in the US. Maybe 2-3 out of 100 were US badges.

Probably some of the oddball Toyotas you saw would look eerily familiar on a Scion lot. The brand ended up being largely international-market Toyotas that Toyota didn’t think fit with its North American lineup. I hope this decision means that they’ve decided interesting inexpensive cars can be part of the main Toyota brand after all, not that they’re done selling such cars in North America.

(My dream had always been that they’d give us a Scion-badged Hi-Lux as an alternative to the bloated Tacoma, but I’m sure that was never too likely.)

I would bet the salesperson actually showed you a Yaris. Moving from a Tercel to a Scion wouldn’t make much sense, especially at a Toyota dealer. Especially when a “scion” is not a particular model of car, but a brand.

(I agree with you though, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Yaris)

Wasn’t the tC essentially a replacement for the Celica?

Well considering the Tercel stopped production in 1999, and the Scion brand started in model year 2003 (so I guess that means 2002), there’s a gap that’s unaccounted for so I’d say you might be correct (although the Yaris might’ve been called the Echo back then?)

I always like the xB. We had the Kia knockoff, the Soul. They’re great city cars, but America’s car market is dominated by suburban sensibilities. Eventually, they’ll be another oil shock (there always is) and the market will correct itself.

The Scion is dyin’?

That’ll get me cryin’.

I’ve been thinking about this and I think I’ve gotten as clear a recollection as I probably ever will. To the best of my memory this is what happened:

*I went to the dealership and the woman showed me a picture of the cheesebox on wheels and told me that the Scion was going to “replace” the Tercel. I remember her face clouded up a bit when she said this, and I got the feeling Toyota was really leaning on their salespeople to push the Scion. I definitely wasn’t interested, so I left. After that I test-drove several other cars–a particularly horrible Mazda stands out–but didn’t like any of them.

*I went back to the Toyota dealership and talked to a different salesperson, a man. I kept telling him a I wanted a coupe, and he kept insisting I wanted a sedan. I think it may have been the Echo he was talking about. Finally I got mad at his insinuation that I didn’t know my own mind, and walked out.

*I bought the Saturn. Calculating it backwards, with reference to some other events, that would have been in 2003. I bought the Tercel in 1987.

I hope this makes sense. I’ll be the first to admit that memory can play tricks on one, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it went.

I’m kind of bummed about this. I drive a tC, and my husband an FRS. They have both been excellent cars. The tc has a ridiculous amount of cargo room for a small car (I can get several 8’ 2x4s in there) and the FRS is super fun to drive.

The FR-S will continue on as a real Toyota.

A Toyota by any other name will still run as long…