The winds of change are blowing at Scion, as a recent report from Wards Auto indicates the youth-focused brand is killing of the boxy xB and small four-door hatchback xD. Vice President Jack Hollis, the corporate face of Scion said there were no plans to replace either car. This is a shocking revelation for the xB, which until 2011 was Scion’s best selling car since coming to America in 2004. The first generation xB was a success for its huge funk factor that made it endearing to the finicky youth market Scion was chasing. In 2008 Scion introduced the second generation xB, which was larger, less boxy, more powerful and much heavier than the outgoing car. In Scion’s attempt to mainstream the xB to a broader audience, they killed the cool factor and sales dropped like a rock.
The demise of the xD comes as less a surprise. Introduced as a 2008 model in the US, the xD offered more contemporary styling than Toyota’s Yaris, but few seemed to notice or care. It didn’t help that Scion barely promoted or marketed the car in any meaningful way, so it’s no wonder the average subcompact car buyer knew the car even existed. With sales stuck around 10,000 cars a year for the past two years, the xD likely won’t be missed.
So that leaves Scion in a very different position in terms of product from when they first launched in America, and just recently in Canada. We have the front-drive sport coupe tC, the pint-sized iQ, and Scion’s anticipated rear-wheel drive sport coupe, the FR-S. An ultra-tiny subcompact and two sport coupes sound like a pretty thin product portfolio, so Scion’s decision to kill off both cars with four doors at once seems to make less sense, as they have now eliminated every family seeking Toyota reliability in a more interesting wrapper, as well as any first time buyer wanting a car to road trip with his buddies. It is especially sloppy product planning for Canada. You can’t enter a market trying to establish a brand identity and within two years kill off two of the three cars you introduced yourself as. There is a gaping hole being left in Scion’s product line, and Jack Hollis’ assertion of no direct replacement leaves me with serious doubts about the future or relevance of Scion.