Abandon Ship: Toyota Allows Dealers to Drop Scion Franchises if They So Please

By Trevor Dorchies | August 20, 2013
If you're the owner of a Toyota dealership and have been saddled with carrying Scion products, listen up. Toyota has announced to dealerships across the country that if it wishes to drop Scion, it can do so without fearing any repercussions. However, Toyota did hint that dealerships who decided to stay on with Scion would be rewarded with some new future products. Earlier this month, Toyota held its national dealer meeting in Atlanta and told those in attendance that Scion "may not be for everybody," because, "there's not enough throughput." Toyota hasn't said how many Scion franchises would go by the wayside because of this recent revelation, only saying that "if you don't want Scion, if it doesn't work for you, it's okay if you want to walk away." In all, about 1,000 of Toyota's 1,225 dealerships across the country carry a Scion franchise, too. Initially, when Toyota launched the Scion brand back in 2003, it expected about half of its dealer network to begin carrying the brand aimed at young people. However, after the Scion xB and tC saw early success, that number almost doubled. At first, this appeared to be a smart move for those dealerships who picked up Scion, as peak sales touched 173,034 units back in 2006. However, sales have fallen off the table since then and there haven't been many signs of a refresh from parent company Toyota. That could change though, as Toyota has plans of rewarding dealers who do stick with Scion by finally bringing new products to market. One of these new products could include the FR-S convertible, which at one point appeared to be shelved but now it may be back on. The Scion FR-S convertible made its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year but early reports price the convertible variant too high for Scion's customer base. Toyota even went as far as to roll the FR-S convertible out on stage at the dealer meeting in Atlanta but rumor has it that it's more likely to be sold in other markets with Toyota badging.
Besides the potential for the FR-S convertible, those in attendance in Atlanta said Toyota showed off a subcompact crossover concept that featured a "racy silhouette." Not much else is known about it at this time, but according to Automotive News, this new subcompact would compete against Honda's upcoming crossover that's based on the Fit. For now, the current direction of Scion remains to be seen as Toyota Senior Vice President Bob Carter told Automotive News that "We're not ready to go public with [Scion's future direction] yet." This situation is a fluid one and as soon as we learn more, we'll pass it along, so stay tuned. Source: Automotive News (subscription required)