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Random Act of Kindness Ends with Nursing Student Getting a Free Car

Random Act of Kindness Ends with Nursing Student Getting a Free Car

This is what it’s all about, folks!

Let’s start your Mondays off on a good note with a story about a young nurse from California and the generosity of a Scion xB owner. Kayla Cooper walked into an Auto City dealership with the intent of purchasing a vehicle. What she got instead was a free car from Dan Laguardia, who handed her the keys to his Scion xB after learning that Cooper couldn’t close a deal on her car purchase. There’s obviously more to this story — we’ll get to that — but, in a nutshell, it shows the power of kindness and generosity in a world that probably needs more doses of both.

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Toyota Drops Scion Brand, Models To Be Rebadged As Toyotas

Toyota Drops Scion Brand, Models To Be Rebadged As Toyotas

The Scion name had an interesting 13-year run

Toyota has just announced that it will be absorbing Scion and its entire lineup in a move that signals the end of Scion as a stand-alone brand. The announcement ends the speculation surrounding the fate of Scion, which included rumors of the brand’s death. Apparently, that’s not the case, at least in Toyota’s view. Sure, the Scion name will cease to exist, but its models will be re-badged as Toyotas as part of a brand transition that’s set to begin in August 2016.

No longer will these models be badged as Scions. Instead, they’ll begin to carry the Toyota badge, including the FR-S sports car, the Mazda2-based iA sedan, and the Toyota Auris-based iM five-door hatchback. Even the production of the C-HR, which made its debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, will continue on as scheduled, though now badged as a Toyota. The only Scion model that will be dropped is the tC sports coupe, which will have a “final release series edition” before riding off into the sunset when its Scion brethren moves to the mothership.

Part of this transition includes absorbing the brand’s 22 dedicated team members, who represent sales, marketing, distribution, strategy, and product and accessories planning. According to Toyota, they’ll be offered new jobs at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. in Torrance, California. The same goes for Scion’s regional representatives. Instead of letting them go, they’ll assume new positions in their respective Toyota services. Likewise, Scion customers will also continue to have a dedicated service and repair process in Toyota dealerships’ service departments. 

In some ways, it’s a smart business move for Toyota because Scion, as its own brand, never really gained any form of significant traction with its youth-oriented approach. It had some moments, including selling 175,000 units in 2006, but for the most part, poor sales became the thing that was associated with the brand. It even came to the point wherein the brand sold only 56,167 cars in 2015, less than the number of Toyota Avalons that were sold in the same period.

If anything, Toyota wasn’t short in giving the brand some attention because it made every effort to infuse it with models it could succeed with. None was more evident than the FR-S, which Toyota sold in the U.S. as an exclusive model, leaving the Toyota GT-86 in other markets. But, even that couldn’t get Scion out of its doldrums, so the decision was made to drop the Scion band entirely.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2016 Scion iA By Skybound Entertainment

2016 Scion iA By Skybound Entertainment

Scion has teamed up with Toyo Tires to bring four customized vehicles to the SEMA show that runs from November 3rd to November 6th. There will be four vehicles presented from Scion, one of which is presented by Scion-lifestyle partner Skybound Entertainment.

Skybound Entertainment has made an evil twin of the standard 2016 Scion iA, and it is based on Robert Kirkman’s latest comic book, Outcast. The car, which goes by the name “Outcast” was designed to move and operate on its own, while displaying sequenced light and audio effects. The roof of the car can gyrate, smoke and even change colors while emitting spooky sounds that give the impression that the car is demonically possessed.

The car was built by 5 Axis – a concept vehicle design and fabrication studio, and its modification was managed by Project Leader Geoff Curtis. So, know that you know the basics of the car, click past the jump to get all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Scion iA By Skybound Entertainment.

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2016 Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition

2016 Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition

It’s been a really long time since the Scion xB made any headlines. Last time it happened it was when the company showcased the Riley Hawk Skate Tour, an xB that pays homage to America’s 1970s van culture, at the 2014 SEMA Show. Before that, Scion launched a rather dull xB Release Series 10.0 at the 2014 New York Auto Show. Come 2015 and the boxy compact gained nothing new except for a standard backup camera.

But arguably the biggest news about the xB is that Toyota decided to pull the plug on the 12-year-old wagon at the end of 2015. Not exactly surprising given xB sales fell for the third consecutive year in 2014, hitting an all-time low since its launch in 2003. Once Scion’s most popular model in the U.S., the xB sold roughly 16,600 units last year (down from more than 60,000 examples in 2006).

I can definitely see why Scion wants to axe the wagon, but it turns out the xB will get a nice send-off with yet another special-edition model. Dubbed 686 Parklan Edition, the limited-edition compact is the result of Scion’s cooperation with 686, a snowboarding and technical winter apparel company, and aimed at buyers seeking "a unique combination of fashion and function." Keep reading to find out what that means.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition.

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2016 Scion tC

2016 Scion tC

When Toyota founded the Scion brand in the U.S. in 2002, it promised affordable vehicles and short product cycles that would appeal to Millennials. But while Scion cars continue to be among the most affordable in North America, product cycles weren’t exactly as promised until 2015, when the Japanese launched two new cars, the 2016 Scion iA and the 2016 Scion iM. For 2016, Scion decided that the tC also needs an update.

There’s good news and bad news here. The good side of the story is that this new update comes only two years since the second-generation tC received its facelift. This can only mean Scion is concerned about keeping its product fresh, an example many automakers should follow. The not not-so-thrilling part is that the 2016 tC is identical to last year’s model on the outside.

The interior is where Scion added some new features, mostly in the convenience department. And it did so while increasing the car’s starting price only slightly, meaning the tC can still brag about its "thrill-to-value" appeal. Find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Scion tC.

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2016 Scion iM

2016 Scion iM

The Scion brand was created to appeal to the younger population. Instead of spending money on R&D, however, Scion had a bad habit of bringing about badge-engineered to Scion dealerships. For 2016, the brand was hoping to create more interest in the brand by debuting two new models – the Scion iA and the Scion iM. The Scion iM was a compact hatchback that was derived from the Toyota Corolla Wagon, or Auris, as the rest of the world knows it. Targeted at youth throughout North America, the iM was available with the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder from the Toyota Corolla Eco. It put out 137 horsepower and was able to attain 37 mpg on the highway. Outside it had fairly stylish looks and a pretty sporty front fascia. Mild body lines gave the car a sleek appearance. Inside the car had a pretty upscale cabin for a car that commanded less than $20,000, featuring dual zone climate control, a seven-inch infotainment system and other little technological and safety goodies.

Just like the iA, Scion was hoping the iM would generate some more cash flow and breathe new life into a company that was quite literally on its last leg. As you probably already know at this point, however, these new models didn’t come soon enough to save the company and the Scion brand has now been discontinued. So, for the 2017 model year, you’ll find the iM marketed under the Toyota brand as the Corolla iM. With that said, it’s time to take a look at our full review of the iM before we start seeing it with a Toyota badge plastered to the back of it. The iM is currently going for just more than $18,000 but expect that pricing to increase a little bit under the Toyota name.

Updated 06/29/2015: The new Scion iM will arrive at U.S. dealers on September 1st, 2015. Prices will start from $18,460 for the manual transmission and $19,200 for the CVTi-S model. Prices do not include $795 delivery, processing and handling fee. Also, check our first drive review here.

Continue reading to learn more about the iM.

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2016 Scion iM: First Drive

2016 Scion iM: First Drive

Scion has made a name for itself by making funky, youth-oriented cars and hatchbacks sold at reasonable prices. That recipe hasn’t changed with the new 2016 Scion iM, but the ingredients have most definitely gone premium. I recently found myself at the national press launch of both the iM and its brother, the iA sedan, where I got to spend plenty of time tossing each car through the Malibu canyons along the California coast. One thing became glaringly apparent: it’s all about the content.

Sure, Scion has always sold its vehicles in “mono-spec” trims, with each model offering the same content besides color and transmission choices, but the new iM ups the ante with features and equipment coming standard that are normally optional extras – even on some entry-level luxury nameplates.

The iM boasts an impressive number of airbags and other safety features, Bluetooth within is standard 7-inch infotainment display, an engine that gets 37 mpg on the highway, and 17-inch wheels that look like they belong on a Lexus. And that’s just the surface.

Beyond content, the iM rides on some impressive underpinnings that make it as fun to drive as it is practical. Independent suspension at all four corners with stiff sway bars keeps things level and tight without killing the ride, and relatively wide 225-series tires hold the road with surprising tenacity. And don’t forget, the iM comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission.

Of course price is a huge factor for Scion and its customer base. Well for $18,460, the iM’s base price backs up the inexpensive Scion promise. For those who don’t want to row their own, a CVT is optional, with its base price starting at $19,200. Not bad for a hatchback than can haul five people or the entire contents of a college dorm room while not getting less than 30 mpg.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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2016 Scion iA: First Drive

2016 Scion iA: First Drive

Scion is taking full advantage of Toyota’s global reach and its relations with Mazda. The iM hatchback is Scion’s version of the Corolla hatch, or as it’s officially known, the Auris. What’s more, the iA sedan is Scion’s version of the upcoming 2015 Mazda2 Sedan. Both the iM and iA benefit from their respective namesakes’ characteristics. For the iA, that means Mazda-like driving prowess and an efficient yet powerful SkyActiv powertrain.

Those benefits were clearly evident in the iA at Scion’s national launch for both cars. The twisty canyon roads in the eastern section of Malibu, California proved the perfected place to size up the Scion-ified Mazda.

Now the iA won’t directly compete with anything Mazda is offering because Mazda won’t bring is sedan version of the 2 – only the hatchback. Conversely, Scion won’t offer a hatchback version of the iA. In reality, the iM hatchback serves that role and keeps the two automakers from robbing sales from each other. It’s a nice partnership that should benefit both greatly.

Mazda’s benefit is Toyota’s half ownership of the Salamanca plant in Mexico where both the iA and Mazda2 are built. Cost sharing and platform stretching are good for the bottom line. But how does all this affect the iA as Scion’s first sedan? Are the cost-cutting measures a bad thing? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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2016 Scion iM & iA First Drive: What Do You Want To Know?

2016 Scion iM & iA First Drive: What Do You Want To Know?

Scion has invited me to be one of the first journalists to drive its newest models in the sunny state of California. Both the 2016 Scion iA and 2016 Scion iM are new to the brand in the U.S. for 2016, though both the iA sedan and iM hatchback are rebadged versions of other cars sold around the world. Regardless, the two new models add some much-needed life to Toyota’s youth-oriented brand.

So now is your chance to ask questions about both cars in the comment section down below. You ask, I respond: it’s that simple. I’ll have the questions ready to ask Toyota engineers and designers at next week’s launch.

Though some info will be embargoed until Monday, June 29, I can give answers to technical questions before then. Those will largely be answered in the comment section. After the Embargo is lifted, you’ll have the chance to read my full review on both cars with all your questions answered, including driving impressions.

Remember, both the iA and iM are new to Scion, but have been in production as other cars. The iA sedan is a reworked 2015 Mazda2 Sedan – meaning it has some big shoes to fill with regards to driving dynamics. The iM, on the other hand, is known as the 2015 Toyota Auris in many parts of the world, and is basically a hatchback version of the 2014 Toyota Corolla. The iM’s platform also underpins the 2015 Lexus CT200h.

These new vehicles are expected to revitalize the Scion brand, so there’s a lot riding on them. Don’t hesitate to ask hard questions!

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Scion Trademarks iR Nomenclature

Scion Trademarks iR Nomenclature

Toyota has filed a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to obtain protection for the name Scion iR. The April 23 filing describes an automobile that “seats four or more passengers and is lawful for use on U.S., Puerto Rican, or Canadian interstate highways.”

The loose description of the iR from the filing is the only information known about the upcoming Scion, but it’s not hard to imagine what Scion has planned. It’s possible Scion is replacing the xD, the tallish, slab-sided hatchback whose production ended in 2014.

Slumping sales are plaguing Scion, with the first quarter of 2015 showing a 17.1 percent drop. Both the iQ and sadly, the FR-S, are responsible for much of the slow sales, with the FR-S down 28.6 percent over last year.

But hope is on the horizon. The iR will eventually join the upcoming Scion iA and iM sedan and hatchback slated to enter production for the 2016 model year. The pair will arrive just in time, hopefully expanding Toyota’s youth brand’s market reach and customer base.

The iA mark’s Scion’s first attempt at offering a more traditional sedan, while the iM will offer more cargo room, since it’s basically a Corolla wagon, or as it’s otherwise known, the Toyota Auris. The iA, on the other hand, is a rebadged Mazda2. There’s no word on what will underpin the iR.

Continue reading to learn more about Scion’s latest trademark.

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Scion Plans No Crossover Anytime Soon

Scion Plans No Crossover Anytime Soon

The Scion brand has slipped away from the cutting edge in recent years, and Toyota’s planning a significant product push in the next 12 months to rejuvenate the lineup with fresh ideas and fresh sheet metal. Despite rumors, however, don’t look for a crossover from the youthful brand. Scion’s willing to think outside the box, but it isn’t ready to go there.

As Scion’s sales have slowed and the product line has aged, there’s been some question as to whether the brand has lost its way. Introduced in 2002 as a hipper, younger alternative to the average Toyota, Scion quickly became a major contributor to the revolution in the subcompact market. Small, efficient cars didn’t have to be cheap-looking or boring, Scion opined, and the rest of the industry followed suit. These days the average entry-level car isn’t a ride that you buy just because you can’t afford anything else, but can be an entertaining and classy extension of your personality.

Scion helped to create this climate, but then the revolution seemed to pass it by. Ford, Honda, Mini, Fiat and even Kia and Hyundai became the go-to cars for the automotive hipsters that Scion was hoping to attract. Toyota’s keen to reverse this slide, and to that end unveiled the first of several all-new models at the New York Auto Show.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Scion Confirms its First-Ever Sedan

Scion Confirms its First-Ever Sedan

Last year wasn’t especially kind to Toyota’s Scion brand. Every car in the lineup saw a year-over-year sales decline of at least 6 percent, and the brand as a whole suffered a sales drop of 15.1 percent compared to 2013. But fear not faithful Scion fans and dealers, help is on the way. Toyota has just announced that a production version of the 2014 Scion iM Concept will be debuting in production guise at the 2015 New York Auto Show alongside an unnamed model that will stand as the brand’s first-ever sedan.

Based on the overseas Toyota Auris and revealed at the LA Auto Show, we knew we’d be seeing the new iM sooner rather than later, but other than confirmation of its unveiling, there is no additional information about the new sedan. It isn’t even clear if this four-door will be a rebadged Toyota product like many other Scion cars including the FR-S or a unique vehicle like the tC, which could possibly be the FR-S-based sedan we heard rumors of last year.

Regardless of which way Toyota goes with this sedan, it will help bring a little diversity to a Scion lineup that has relied solely on small hatchbacks and coupes since Toyota created it a decade ago.

Other than the iM and this new sedan, Scion also confirmed that it will debut a third new vehicle within the next three years. This could very easily be a much-needed replacement for the once-trend-setting xB or it could be an entirely new model altogether, but it will definitely inject some youthfulness into a lineup that currently averages more than four years old.

Click past the jump to read more about Scion’s future sedan.

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