It’s been an eventful 13 years for Toyota’s chic sub-brand

Some 13 years ago, Toyota launched a new sub-brand that promised to attract a wave of new customers with chic and quirky vehicles. 13 years and almost 1.2 million vehicles sold later, that same sub-brand has officially made its curtain call, never to be heard from again. That brand is Scion, Toyota’s oft overlooked lineup that lived up to some of its promise, even if it never reached the heights that its parent firm thought it could get to.

Scion’s closure doesn’t come as a surprise because it didn’t really move the sales needle for Toyota. It had its share of moments, but ultimately, it was also besieged by reliability issues that added to its vulnerability to the unpredictable nature of the industry. It didn’t help Scion’s cause that Toyota began to reinvent itself to cater to a younger market and that push from the mothership rendered the "youth brand" redundant to the automaker’s overarching objectives.

And so, Scion has officially ceased to exist. The good news for fans of the brand is that some of its models will be absorbed by Toyota. Included in this list are the FR-S, which will be rebadged as the U.S.-spec Toyota 86, as well as the iA sedan, and iM hatchback.

The iA and iM models, in particular, have been rebadged as the Yaris iA and Corolla iM, respectively. Meanwhile, other models like the tC sports coupe are now gone. In fact, the tC ended production two months earlier in August with the release of the limited-run tC Release Series 10.0, Servicing and repairs for existing Scion models are also being done by Toyota now.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

The sun has set on Scion

Some people may be upset about what happened to Scion, but it is important to understand the reason behind Toyota decided to close the brand. That reason is because the mothership couldn’t justify making a case for Scion to exist when Toyota itself was already venturing into markets that were previously left to Scion. Why have a sub-brand and assume all the costs of maintaining it when you’re doing it yourself already? The decision looks to completely of the business case variety and nobody can fault Toyota for doing it.

Personally, it’s bittersweet to see Scion go because at one point in my life, I actually had a soft spot for the xB. I thought it was funky and fun and in those days when I was still impressionable. A lot of people may scoff at the brand for being too cute, but that was one of the reasons why Toyota launched it in the first place. It was meant to be cute and it was meant to attract young buyers who thought that Toyota was too stiff.

In that respect, I think Scion was successful for a period of time. Its problem was it couldn’t sustain that success long enough for the company to really grab a hold of its market. It didn’t help that its models were also plagued with reliability issues that led to numerous recalls. Eventually, Toyota realized all of that and when it decided to enter those markets itself, Scion became redundant. That’s why it was closed, and for the most part, I think it’s a good decision. Scion had its day in the sun and a lot of people enjoyed its cars. But the sun has set on the brand and Toyota can’t be blamed for making the decision to close it for good.

What do you think?
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