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Why Toyota killed off Scion

Scion was created more than a decade ago to attract young buyers into the Toyota fold, but sales for the brand have struggled in recent years. 

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    The 2016 Toyota Scion iM appears on display at the New York International Auto Show. Toyota announced Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, that it is discontinuing its Scion brand, aimed at younger car buyers, after years of slumping sales. Beginning in August the MY17 Scion, the FR-S sports car, iA sedan, the iM 5-door hatchback and the C-HR will be rolled into the standard Toyota line-up. Scion owners can still visit Toyota service departments for maintenance and repairs.
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After nearly 13 years, Toyota's Scion "youth brand" is dead.

Conceived as an entry-level nameplate to slot below the main Toyota brand, and focused on small cars, Scion will cease to exist as an independent brand in August.

The move comes just after parent Toyota attempted to reinvigorate Scion with two new models--the iA sedan and iM hatchback--and proposed that it would get a version of the upcoming C-HR subcompact crossover.

Those three models will all be sold as Toyotas for the 2017 model year and going forward.

The execution of Scion was first reported by car site CarBuzzards last night, and was confirmed by Toyota in an announcement today.

A press release issued this morning said the decision to discontinue Scion was made in part because the younger buyers Scion was founded to attract are happy buying Toyota models.

More than a decade ago, Scion was created to attract young buyers into the Toyota fold with inexpensive small cars and no-haggle pricing.

In recent years, the brand has struggled. Scion sold 56,167 cars in 2015, down from a peak of 173,034 in 2006.

The brand initially had an unexpected hit with the small and relentlessly angular first-generation xB.

But a larger second-generation xB and a companion model called the xD were not as well received.

And instead of regularly updating them, Toyota let them age, then made a brief attempt to rejuvenate Scion with niche models.

It launched the FR-S sports car and the (since discontinued) iQ city car--neither of which had the ability to contribute high volumes of sales.

This past year, Toyota finally gave Scion two new mainstream models to sell alongside the FR-S and the existing tC coupe.

The iM is a re-badged Toyota Auris hatchback, while the iA is a sedan version of the Mazda 2.

The pair seemed to be what Scion needed, but perhaps it was too little, too late. They will, in any event, continue in the family.

Beginning in August, most Scion cars will be re-badged as Toyotas, which makes sense, given that many are already sold as Toyota models in other markets.

The 2017-model-year versions of the FR-S, iA, and iM will be sold as Toyotas, though their model names were not addressed in today's announcement.

At the same time, the tC coupe will be discontinued, with a "Final Release Series edition" set to usher the model out.

The C-HR crossover--shown in concept form as a Scion at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show--will be sold here as a Toyota, just as in other markets.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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