When people think about Toyota vehicles, they usually think of dependable family vehicles. Some auto consumers are familiar with Toyota’s tradition of manufacturing excellence and are aware of the brand’s highest rated vehicles. Not content to rest on their laurels, Toyota created an entirely new auto label to appeal to Generation Y and millennial customers. The scion brand was launched in 2002 and the first three vehicles manufactured under that marque went on to define the overall look and feel of this distinctive twenty-first century label.
The very first vehicle made under Toyota’s new marque was the xA. This vehicle was based on Toyota’s existing ist model, a vehicle sold in the Japanese domestic market. The compact shape, five doors, and hatchback feature made this an ideal vehicle to appeal to younger buyers interested in a vehicle that was fun to drive as well as easy to own.
The xA featured:
- 1.5 liter engine with 108 horsepower
- 11.7 square foot cargo capacity
- EPA fuel economy rating of 32/38 in 2004
- Manuel or automatic transmission
- 0 – 60 acceleration of 8.8 seconds
It was decided that vehicles under the new marque would be released as limited editions with distinctive accessories and features. This would help generate market buzz and appeal to the desire for highly personalized products among Generation Y and millennial buyers. Many of these vehicles were issued in bold, bright colors like blue, yellow, and orange. It wasn’t until the 2006 release of the xA RS 3.0 that more than 2,000 units were produced of any xA vehicle.
The second vehicle released under Toyota’s new marque was the xB, a station wagon-style vehicle that took its cue from the bB, a subcompact wagon that also originated in the Japanese domestic market. Along with the xA, the xB was a model exclusive to the United States. To adapt the xB to the U.S. Market, a left-side driver’s console was added, the gear shift was mounted on the floor instead on the steering column, bucket seats were added, and space for a spare tire was included in the design.
The same limited release strategy was implemented for the xB; many dealerships received only two or three of these limited vehicles. Toyota implemented a Pure Price MSRP guarantee that would ensure that dealerships did not raise the prices in response to market demand. Only 2,100 units of the first xB release were produced.
The initial run of the xB was ended in 2007; the model year 2008 began the run of the second generation xB vehicles and this model is still in production. Now that the scion ten year anniversary has passed, it may be safe to say that this “marque within a marque” is here to stay.
Like the xA and xB, the tC was made in limited numbers. Though each of the releases of the tC saw slightly larger production numbers than either the xA or xB, the exclusive nature of this vehicle helped generate buzz among industry insiders and general consumers. In fact, a pared down version of the tC called the Spec Package was created without many of the features that consumers might regard as standard. This bare bones vehicle was primarily intended for the tuner market and though interest from this corner did move many units, the Spec Package was discontinued in the 2007 model year.
The tC as it exists now is a comfortable sedan with lots of style. The all-glass roof and quarter panel window line create a chic appearance while the electric power steering system and Vehicle Stability Control provide a technical advantage on the road.
Scion’s vehicle lineup has increased since the introduction of these three original vehicles though the tradition of modern elegance, technical superiority, and contemporary appeal has never wavered. Thousands of satisfied customers would certainly agree.
Check out some pictures: Scion celebrates first 10 years with special edition models