Despite the Option to Walk Away, Toyota Dealers Stick With Scion

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Have you been getting flak from your friends about how your car’s brand may go the way of the Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Saturn? Sure, Scion sales are down, but the youth-oriented Toyota subsidiary offers some strategic perks that boost Toyota’s overall business strategy. Here are three reasons why all 1,000 U.S. Toyota dealers that sell Scions have chosen to stick with the brand despite the option to walk away.

Scion Buyers are Loyal to Toyota

First-time buyers account for three quarters of Scion’s customer base. Toyota Motor Sales USA Senior Vice President, Bob Carter told Reuters when those first-timers become second-timers, they end up buying another Scion, or graduating to a Toyota or a Lexus. Because of that, Carter said, “We are absolutely committed to the brand as our youth strategy going into the future.”

The Number 32 is Very Good

Thirty-two: that is the average age of the Scion buyer according to Carter, but research firm Polk says Scion’s average buyer is 49 years old. Why the discrepancy? Polk calculates average customer age by looking at vehicle registration data, whereas Toyota is looking at primary-driver data. Often times with first-time-buyer brands like Scion, a parent registers a vehicle for their son/daughter, the primary driver, who has a wealth of years in the future to buy more Toyota products.

The Successful Scion FR-S Doesn’t Hurt

Toyota, Lexus and Scion sales have totaled 1.53 million units through August. Cars with the Toyota badge make up 88.9 percent of those sales. For Lexus, that figure is 11.1 percent. Scion only makes up 0.3 percent of all Toyota sales, yet it seems the Scion FR-S takes up a significant five percent of all automotive press chatter. The FR-S has been a boon for the Scion brand, not to mention a shot in the arm for the sporting image Toyota so desperately needs. Let’s also keep in mind the Scion FR-S has sold 13,537 units so far this year, making it the brand’s most popular model.

Carter said no new Scion models will be introduced for the rest of the 2013 calendar year, but analysts at IHS Automotive expect the FR-S convertible to be added to Scion’s portfolio next year. They also say the new xB will come out in 2016, followed by a small crossover in 2017.

images [Scion]

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