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Toyota to bring Scion brand to Canada in 2010
Fun and fuel efficient
Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Published: Monday, October 20, 2008
Once limited to the United States, Toyota's Scion brand will officially arrive in Canada in 2010 with a range of vehicles many Canadians have never seen before.
Designed for the tuner generation, Scion has a wide appeal among trend-setting young Canadians. Come 2010, no longer will those wanting a hip tC with its impressive panorama moonroof, or the brand's xD subcompact hatchback or xB compact crossover-like five-door, be forced to cross the border and export one.
The fuel-friendly brand has also attracted the young at heart of all ages, with empty-nesters even snapping up the box-like xB because of its people, and cargo, hauling utility, low entry price and extremely reasonable running costs.
"Young Canadians have been telling us they want Scion, and now their desire is within reach. Scion is an authentic brand, created to mesh with youthful tastes and sensibilities, and we're excited to expand our presence in Canada with new vehicles that offer a unique blend of flexibility, personalization, affordability and fuel efficiency," said Larry Hutchinson, Director of Toyota Canada Inc. "The time is right to bring Scion culture to Canada."
The timing is right mostly because the Canadian government loosened its bumper restrictions last month, harmonizing them with the US, which allows Scion's cars to be sold here without undergoing an expensive certification process for each model. Expect to see other manufacturers following Scion's lead by bringing US-only models to Canada, although keep in mind that expensive vehicles, like Toyota's Land Cruiser, may not be imported as they could potentially be priced too high to be competitive here.
Scion's lineup, however, is ideal, as Canadians prefer small cars due to our higher fuel costs and their lower initial prices. Scion acts as something even more important to Toyota, mind you, and that's as a conduit for new buyers that might never consider a Toyota; 70-percent are new to the Toyota family. After all, Toyota, while highly respected for durability and safety, isn't the sexiest brand in the industry. Scion, on the other hand, is cool, with a fun-loving, youth-oriented image similar to Mini and smart. When Scion customers' needs evolve, over 50-percent migrate to Toyota, so the company's plan is indeed working.
The brand was launched in 2003, and while its creators expected the entry-level xA, a subcompact hatchback that has since been discontinued and replaced with the xD, to be the sales leader, it was the cube-like xB that stole the show. But it was more than unique styling that brought enthusiastic buyers to the brand. Rather, the opportunity to personalize its cars along with a relaxed atmosphere at the dealership level appealed to customers not intrigued by the conventional approach. A community of Scion fans has since formed, filled with enthusiasts who tune their cars on their own or via specialized chop shops, the most famous of which is actor Tom Hanks who had his xB fitted with an electric drivetrain, as well as Scion owners who personalize their cars with warranty-backed aftermarket-style original equipment accessories offered by Scion at the dealership level.
"Scion is a unique brand, yet still a member of the Toyota family so it benefits from the same high standards as our Toyota and Lexus lines," added Hutchinson. "As such, Scion will be an important avenue through which we reach new drivers - those who represent the greatest future growth of the market - and give them the opportunity to experience, first-hand, Toyota's reputation for quality, fuel efficiency, safety and value."
Despite their low price points, Scion models don't come bare bones, which should also suit Canadian buyers who tend to spend more on options and accessories on average than American consumers. Models arriving in 2010 will feature standard air-conditioning, cruise control and high-grade audio/communication systems while the brand's a la carte option program will let buyers pick and choose between options best suited to their wants and needs. Everything from custom alloy wheels, shift ***** and sport pedal systems will be offered, as well as Toyota Racing Development (TRD) components to spice up performance. Satellite radio will also be on the options list.
Safety will come standard, however, with dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags and front to rear side curtain-type airbags, plus three-point lap/shoulder belts for all occupants.
And where will you be able to buy them? Unlike Lexus, which sells through standalone dealerships, Scion piggybacks off of select Toyota retail locations, using the "store within a store" model proven effective by smart, which retails its fortwo in sectioned off areas within Mercedes-Benz dealerships.
Toyota will roll out its Scion program in phases, with the first stores coming to Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver in 2010. This more traditional dealership program will be followed by additional stores in "Canadian urban centres", so expect something similar to Mini Downtown in Toronto and the BMW-owned British brand's Yaletown location in Vancouver.
To get a feel for what the brand is doing south of the 49th check out www.scion.com, a media-rich montage of urban graphics and edgy video that shows off the three-model lineup, as well as special limited edition models, plus serves as a gateway to Scion fan sites and forums. There's even a Scion Culture section, with titles like "Events", "Free Stuff", "Tweaks of the Weak" and "Scion Magazine". The Canadian site is www.scionnation.ca[/b]
Although I am happy that Canadians are going to get some fresh new cars to consider, I think that toyota knows exactly what is currently available to the Canadian car buyer, what canadians are buying and what they are seemingly willing to pay for....
With that in mind, I expect the Scions to be more expensive regardless of dollar shifts, The Options will come with a price tag. If not directly as in a standard sales setup, at-least an integrated "value" for the cars. They will then use that value to sell the idea to Canadians and justify part of the price increase from the other vehicles on the Canadian market as well as the US prices.
Canadians have always paid more for options and standard features, as we seem to expect less and be ok with paying more. The second part of the higher prices then the US vehicles will be that they have a much larger consumer base, and support the sale of more units, You see this typically in the price of Cars, shoes, electronics.... more so cars. They are definitely going to adjust pricing for the smaller projected unit sales.
This is what I figure, but I guess no one knows till 2010...
Besides, even with our weak dollar, it's still probably cheaper to get it in the US.
As of a couple of seconds ago, 1 U.S. dollar = 1.19530008 Canadian dollars
I'd still buy a Scion out of the US. The difference in price, even with a weak dollar, is high enough to buy from the States. Canadians get f ucked when it comes to car pricing, particularly on high end vehicles.
This site is a good spot to find some gleaming examples of how much people have saved buying out of the us. http://www.carswithoutborders.com/
They're also pretty passionate about getting the gov to ease off restrictions on the importation of vehicles from the US.