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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 Officially Closes The Doors On Scion

Toyota Officially Closes The Doors On Scion

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.

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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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Scion ready to drop the boom at SEMA with sick FR-S Tuner Challenge models

Scion ready to drop the boom at SEMA with sick FR-S Tuner Challenge models

Before the FR-S sports car burst into the auto scene in late 2011, Scion didn’t have a whole lot of street cred when it came to the aftermarket world. Sure, the iQ has been the subject of some projects in the past, but it didn’t really capture the imagination of a lot of people, particularly because the iQ is still a compact hatchback that offered little in the way of performance.

But with the FR-S, Scion has definitely turned the tables on the industry, earning itself the kind of swag befitting of the quarterback at a high school party.

Well, the aftermarket party that is the 2012 SEMA Auto Show will be the site of the FR-S Tuner Challenge and the Toyota-owned brand is ready to drop three custom-built FR-S models, at least based on the teasers that have just been released, that will make you drop your pants on the floor.

Not much was given in the way of details regarding the three custom-built FRS models, except that all three look about as stunning as any tuned FRS models we’ve ever seen.

If you remember, we showed you a teaser video of the challenge that included the identities of the three tuners who are part of the competition. We don’t know who owns what project, but if we could just split the award three ways to all three fellas, we wouldn’t have any problems doing so.

Be that as it may, there will be one winner and Scion will announce who takes home the title at the 2012 SEMA Auto Show.

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Toyota says no to bringing the Scion FR-S Convertible to the US market

Toyota says no to bringing the Scion FR-S Convertible to the US market

One would think that living in America would have its advantages. Don’t get us wrong; we love the merits of the good ’ol U-S-of-A, but sometimes, this country doesn’t always get what it wants.

Take the recent news about the Scion FR-S Convertible as an example. The new Japanese sports coupe is available in the US as a coupe model, but according to AutoNews, that’s as far as it gets.

Due to "pricing issues," Toyota has announced that the convertible model of the FR-S will not be made available in the US. You read that right: not available in the US.

We don’t know about you, but this news is pretty devastating, especially for those who have been waiting for a topless version of the FR-S. As if to rub salt on our wounds, Toyota has given the green light to bring a convertible model of the Toyota GT86 in a number of other markets all over the world.

As for the third sister in this trifecta, the Subaru BRZ Convertible, there’s been no confirmation on whether one will come in the future.

But no Scion FR-S Convertible in the US? Bummer. Bummer, indeed.

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Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are the Fastest Selling Cars in the U.S.

Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are the Fastest Selling Cars in the U.S.

Inventory turns are the bane of a car dealership sales manager’s existence, as the general manager will ride the sales manager like a rented mule if a unit stays on the lot past 30 days. In reality, the average car sits on a dealership’s lot for a little over 50 days – that’s a lot of gripe sessions from the GM. According to a report from Edmunds, via our pals at Auto Blog, the sales managers at Subaru and Scion dealerships can breathe easy every time a shipment of new BRZ or FR-S models comes rolling in on the back of a transporter.

Why would these managers be so happy to see a truckload full of these new sports cars? Well, because the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S are No. 1 and 2 on the fastest selling vehicle list, respectively. There is barely enough time for the driver to unload the cars and for the service team to perform a safety check and get it detailed before a deal is being worked and the car is being driven off of the lot. Yup, the BRZ lasts a whopping four days in the dealership before turning into a sale and the FR-S lasts only five days.

This is all well and good, but another issue is starting to rear its head, and that is the fact that there just are not enough BRZ and FR-S models to go around. Toyota will only make about 10,000 FR-S models and Subaru is planning only 6,000 units, which at the current pace will be completely sold out well before the end of the model year.

We are willing to bet that neither Subaru nor Toyota will leave any money on the table, so we anticipate seeing production numbers ramped up in the coming months, if sales keep going the way they are. If Mazda is willing to increase the number of special edition RX-8s it is producing to keep up with demand, Subaru and Toyota likely will too.

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Subaru Building an FA20 Engine with a Turbocharger; is it for the BRZ?

Subaru Building an FA20 Engine with a Turbocharger; is it for the BRZ?

A few weeks ago, we let you in on the conversation that Car and Driver had with executives from Subaru and Toyota about the possibility of a turbocharger on the BRZ, GT 86, and FR-S. It was a flat out “No” on the FR-S and an “Eh, maybe, but not now” on the BRZ and GT 86. Well, first off we think that’s a load of corporate horse manure, as Subaru and Toyota would be out of their engine control modules not to force at least 8 psi into that new jointly built 2.0-liter engine.

Apparently, Subaru is taking a nibble of the bait that us turbo junkies are tossing in the water, as it has just completed development on a turbocharged version of the FA20 engine used in the BRZ, GT 86, and FR-S family. This engine is not an identical twin to the FA20, so don’t go getting your hopes up yet, but it is its fraternal twin at least. The only real difference is that Subaru scrapped the Toyota fuel injection system in favor of its own direct-injection system.

So what kind of power are we talking about? We are hearing that it cranks out a whopping 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque! Now for the bad news… As of now, this engine is only slated to be dropped into the JDM-spec Legacy. To make things worse, Subaru is linking this awesome engine to a CVT. What a gigantic waste.

Don’t go getting all sad on us now, this is a good start that Subaru is willing to slap some boost on this puppy and get nearly 300 ponies and 300 twisting power. Now just imagine that in a BRZ…

So we will reiterate what we said before. Regardless of what smoke and mirrors Subaru and Toyota throw up there, we will see boost in at least the BRZ and GT 86, and we would be willing to bet a penny that we see the FR-S whistling down the road one day too.

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Scion aiming for no less than 20,000 annual FR-S sales

Scion aiming for no less than 20,000 annual FR-S sales

The Scion FR-S may be the unfortunate love child created from the Subaru and Toyota sports car collaboration, but the American company still has ambitious plans for its latest sports coupe. It has revealed that it plans on shifting 20,000 units annually for the foreseeable future.

Scion’s vice president Jack Hollis stated that "We’re confident we can sell every one we get our hands on.” So it’s clear that Scion believes the FR-S can help give the brand that little boost of life it’s been looking for for many, many years. Not a great deal of reviews have been published about the Scion FR-S, but if it’s as similar to the Toyota GT 86 and the Subaru BRZ as we’re led to believe, then it should be a true sports car which Scion should be proud to sell.

Just as a quick reminder, the Scion FR-S shares the same 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine as both the GT 86 and BRZ, and produces no less than 200HP. Sure that may not sound like a lot, but the FR-S tips the scales at around 2,500 pounds and when combined with a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, the FR-S promises to be the perfect, affordable driver’s car.

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Possible Turbo for the BRZ, but No Love for the Scion

Possible Turbo for the BRZ, but No Love for the Scion

Ever since the Toyota-Subaru joint venture that netted three different models – Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT 86, and Scion FR-S – there have been speculations, rumors, and whispers of potential forced induction for these triplets. Recently an unnamed “source” informed our colleagues over at Car and Driver that “for the time being” the BRZ and FR-S will remain naturally aspirated and pumping out 200 horsepower.

The report went on to say that a turbocharged BRZ is a possibility in the future, but there is no way the FR-S will ever receive forced induction. The source also mentioned that the GT 86 could potentially get some added PSI into the intake. The reason being, according to this “source,” is because the Scion is considered an entry-level sports car and a turbocharger would push its $24,930 base price to near $30,000. At that price, most Scion buyers may start dreaming of a BMW 1-series or something a little more upscale. The Subaru and Toyota, on the other hand, cater to higher-end customers.

Being the car buffs that we are and lovers of a little forced air, this is a depressing thing to hear. It also slightly confuses us a little, as we don’t quite see how adding a turbocharger can pump the base price up $6,000. Even if it did approach those higher cars, like the 1-Series, a boosted FR-S would certainly pump out more power than the base 1-Series and is definitely a more fun car to drive.

So here’s to hoping that the three automakers come together and find a way to make a turbocharged version of all three models. A boosted model would likely have a massive impact on Scion’s popularity too. Heck, it may even get that nasty taste out of people’s mouths that the xB and xD models left behind.

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Subaru/Toyota FT-86 will be badged as Scion in the US: Features extremely low center of gravity

Subaru/Toyota FT-86 will be badged as Scion in the US: Features extremely low center of gravity

The Toyota/Subaru FT-86 creation has been buzzing about the internet since the two announced their partnership, but after months of concepts and hearsay, a Subaru source has provided a bit of official information about the new sports car. The FT-86 will be arriving in the U.S. badged as a Scion FR-S and will feature one of the lowest centers of gravity of any vehicle out on the market. It will actually be right behind the Porsche GT3 and the Ferrari 458, thanks to the boxer engine provided to Toyota by Subaru. Subaru’s boxer engine has a flat, low profile that balances weight efficiently and provides quick handling response and flat, confident cornering.

We’re expected to see debuts of all the FT-86 variants when the Tokyo Motor Show opens its doors in December 2011 so we’ll have more details on those models at that time. Subaru’s version of the FT-86 is also being considered for an STI version which could come sporting a new generation, naturally aspirated (not turbocharged as with other STI models) 2.0-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine.

Speaking of the STI, Subaru sources also say that the new STI will take at least two years before coming to the market and will be drastically different from the base Impreza. In fact, this is part of Subaru’s plan to separate their conventional models from their performance models. The Impreza was put together with an eye out for economy, but the STI will be a different beast altogether. It will get its own engine, one that will have nothing to do with the Toyota engine created for the FT-86 project and will make it easier for Subaru to market the vehicle as a performance model. No specific figures were given, but we expect the new STI to carry a turbocharged version of the 2.5 liter boxer engine with more than 305 HP on tap. The engine will be mated to a fully synchronized close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission.

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Toyota to give the FT-86 a Scion badge

Toyota to give the FT-86 a Scion badge

The Toyota FT-86 concept wowed us at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show for being a sexy RWD 2+2 that wouldn’t cost us an arm and a leg to buy.

But according to the Wall Street Journal, Toyota may have other plans for the production version of the FT-86. During a recent meeting with dealers in Las Vegas, Toyota announced that the FT-86 will be badged not as a Toyota, but as a Scion. What’s more, the previously stated $20,000 price tag has been bumped up to somewhere around $25,000.

Is this a good or a bad thing? Well, it depends on who you ask.

While we’re not completely enamored with the FT-86 falling under the Scion brand, we understand Toyota’s decision in doing so given that Scion hasn’t exactly been setting auto sales on fire. The Scion-badged FT-86 could be what Scion needs to kick-start its line-up back to prominence.

Despite the announcement, Toyota has not thrown out the possibility of seeing a Toyota version in the future. As far as we’re concerned though, we don’t see the merits of having a Toyota version now that the production version of the 2+2 sports coupe is being badged as a Scion. They’ll be competing against each other in a market that Scion desperately needs to make an impact on.

We think that having a Toyota version of the FT-86 will undermine the Scion version. But that’s what we think. If Toyota sees a more promising result than what we’re seeing, then more power to them.

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Scion Begins Selling Cars To Our Northern Neighbors

Scion Begins Selling Cars To Our Northern Neighbors

Scion is an interesting story to say the least. The youth-oriented brand was supposed to attack the younger generation, but that didn’t work out too well. Now older customers are moving in and they are buying up cars like the xB and thexD in mass numbers. Now, Canadian elders can have the same privilege. Eh?

The first markets to receive these vehicles will be Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Scion dealerships will spring up in these cities, 45 in total. Toyota hopes that the brand will eventually catch on in Canada and as it does, more dealerships will rise from the ground in other cities.

So, thanks to Scion, Canadians can now buy those quirky machines instead of the overall bland lineup from Toyota. Well, there not that bad, but you get the point. For a full list of the 45 dealers, visit ScionNation.ca/scion/dealers. Every model will be offered to our neighbors.

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Scion plans to expand its model line-up

Scion plans to expand its model line-up

The current Scion line-up only includes three models, but things are about to change. Early next year Scion will offer the new iQ minicar and it will be followed by a few other products including a production version of the Hako concept unveiled at the 2009 New York Auto Show.

According to Jack Hollis, vice president of Scion, the future line-up will be a "a mix of evolution and revolution". The future line-up might also include a rear-wheel-drive compact performance vehicle and a production version of theToyota A-BAT pickup concept. In the next few years we also expect redesigns - or replacements - for both the xB and xD models.

"I don’t think Scion needs to be reinvented, but we need to find the next dimension," Hollis said. Hollis declined to say whether the vehicles would be additions to the lineup or made to replace existing vehicles, but in the past, Hollis said that if the Hako were built, it would be an addition.

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Scion's identity crisis

Scion’s identity crisis

Scion dealers to older customers: GET OFF MY LAWN! (and kindly go to the Toyota part of the showroom.) Scion was originally launched in 2002 to combat Toyota’s trend of have an average customer that was older than 40. The idea as simple: a youth-oriented brand that would hook younger people who would later graduate to Toyota products. Unfortunately because all Scions share a showroom with Toyota, they couldn’t hide the cars from the old people.

What happened next is spiral of marketing gone wrong. Either because of a quality product or just wanting to look younger, some older people began creeping up Scion’s average buyer age. Since Scions were only marketed to young people, the mainstream older market stayed away, and now that “old people” were seen in Scions, the younger market began staying away too. Before gas hit $4 a gallon, Scion had experienced 17 straight months of declining sales. April and May saw sales improve dramatically – by 41.5 and 28.4 percent, respectively – but sales once again dipped in June. “If we could relaunch Scion, I wouldn’t ever have called it a youth brand, because it’s a kiss of death,” Brian Bolain, a former Scion corporate manager, told Automotive News. “It creates problems when you start labeling.”

Once the dust settles from high gas prices, Toyota will need to resolve this identity crisis. Whatever this may involve, it will mean drastic changes to Scion in the future.

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2009 Scion xB

2009 Scion xB

For those folks who don’t know, the Scion xB is an urban utility vehicle which features an iconic box style with elongated headlamps, rectangular grille and pronounced fenders. Under the hood, the 2009 model features a 2.4-liter dual overhead-cam four-cylinder engine capable to develop 158 hp, with 55 more than the previous generation. With this engine the estimated EPA fuel economy is of 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
According to the manufacturer the stability and the handling of the vehicle is attributed to the MacPherson strut front and rear torsion beam suspension but also to the 16 inch wheels.

At the interior the vehicle features plenty of utility space with 21.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 60/40 split fold flat rear seats for additional space and a flat cargo floor. Also the front seats can be fully reclined in order to increase cargo space or relaxation. More details after the jump!

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Scion will add new models

Scion will add new models

Since its launch in 2003, Scion always has a number of three models in its line-up. The xA will be dropped and will be replaced with the Xd in 2008. But the sales are growing and the company needs to grow too. Steve Haag, Scion’s corporate manager said: "We have to offer more products, (though) we want to remain small."
Even if he did not said something about the number of the models, is sure that Scion will remain focused on small models, like the three currently available. There is also a (...)

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