The End of the Box? Scion Changing Direction, Saying Goodbye to xB

Scion xB

The old look of Scion...

Some car brands have certain models that define them. For Scion, that model is the xB. No question, when people think of Scion, they think of college kids driving around in this box-shaped vehicle. The edgy brand and odd looks of the car combined to create a hit with Generation Y.

Of course, Scion sells other vehicles, too. The tC is a mostly lame attempt at a sports coupe, and the xD is, well, I can’t think of anyone who has ever liked the little hatch. The tC, at least, still sells well enough to justify its existence, but the xB and xD seem to have hit the end of the road.

Scion sold only 17,000 xBs in 2012, down from a peak of 60,000 units just a few years ago. It seems a new direction is in order for the quickly-aging “youth” brand.

That new direction will include cars like the iQ and FR-S in addition to the existing tC, which remains loved by all. And by “all,” I mean mostly college-age girls.

Scion FR-S

...the new look of Scion!

Personally, I believe Scion started the xB death countdown with the car’s second generation. Typical of so many cars in America, it gained weight instead of performance and became more bulbous instead of sleek. Kia’s box, the Kia Soul, looks to me like a new-generation xB should have looked.

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t think this is the end of Scion at all. In fact, I think dumping the xB and xD will be a rebirth of sorts for the struggling brand. With the tiny iQ, the stable tC and the brilliant FR-S, Scion will move from being a funky youth brand to one that represents frugal but sporty fun. I do question, however, how long the iQ will remain on the menu. Frugal is one thing, bite-size is quite another.

In my ideal world, Scion would also offer a small pickup, say the size of the 2001 Toyota Tacoma. By doing that, Scion could become what Toyota was in the late 1980s and ’90s; small, sporty and fun!

Is Toyota right to dump the Scion xB and move in a new direction?


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  1. “Gained weight instead of performance?” Better check the numbers. A second-gen
    xB may be heavier but will blow the doors off a first-gen.

  2. Randy makes another great point. I do see the value of the sub-brand though, if only for advertising/marketing efforts. It’s hard for one brand to be everyting to everyone, and yet that’s what they want to do. Toyota’s solution, (and many other carmakers) is to offer Scion as a budget/youth/edgy brand and Lexus as the luxury/performance brand while Toyota gets the boring middle- reliable and dependable.

  3. Toyota might do well to dump the whole brand. What is the point, anyway? First of all, the Toyota brand name is more widely recognized and has a better reputation, and already has a very broad range of vehicles. Perhaps the only exception would be Scion’s new IQ, which (as a microcar) is smaller than anything in the Toyota lineup and would complement the brand. As for the others, I can’t think of any reason to keep them. The multiple brand phenomenon is an outdated concept that creates overproduction and oversupply and makes it harder for manufacturers to concentrate on producing core, high-production products.

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