5 Questions to Consider About the Disappearing Scion Brand

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It’s somewhat disconcerting to me to see the Scion brand go away, because I was there early on at a launch event at New York’s Tavern on the Green in 2003.

Fast forward 12 years later, and I was back in lower Manhattan for the launch of the last of the brand’s new models, the Scion iA and the Scion iM.

Over those dozen years, the message was pretty consistent. Scion is the younger, hipper division of Toyota. It may have been statistically. (At 29, the tC sports coupe has the lowest-average-age buyer in the industry.) The simple truth, though, is that a car company can’t subsist on young buyers alone, because it’s older consumers who have the funds to buy cars more frequently.

There are questions that need to be answered about the disappearing Scion brand. Here are five of the most important ones.

What’s the future of Scion?
It will continue to exist as a distinct brand through August 2016. Then its 2017 models will get swallowed up and become Toyotas. The 2016 Scion models will be the last to carry that badge.

Does it make sense to buy a new Scion?
From a financial standpoint, in terms of dollars off the MSRP, it does, but how patient are you? Can you wait until mid-summer 2016? Odds are pretty good Toyota is going to do whatever it can to move the remaining Scion product because, come mid-August, it’s going to stop supporting the brand with marketing. You can’t sell a car if you don’t, well, sell it.

Another factor, besides determining your patience, is deciding if Scion is the right car for you. The 2016 Scion iA has strong competition from cars like the Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, and the Ford Fiesta, a spectacular car.

The 2016 Scion iM is a fun car to drive but it too faces strong competition from models like the Ford Focus, the Volkswagen Golf, and the Mazda3.

Does it make sense to buy a used Scion?
There’s nothing to be concerned about if you are considering a certified pre-owned Scion, because the warranty is backed by Toyota, and it’s not going anywhere.

Just keep in mind, though, that you might be able to buy a new Scion for not much more money than a younger used one. In that situation it makes no sense to buy a used Scion because of better warranty protection and lower interest rates on your financing.

Can I get my Scion serviced?
Absolutely — because the brand has always been a part of Toyota. Its technicians know how to maintain Scions. Those 1,200 Scion dealerships that are closing? Their service departments aren’t. They’ve always been staffed by Toyota mechanics.

Should I sell my Scion?
Can you afford to run it into the ground? It’s probably not worth what it should be, because the Scion brand has become an orphan, i.e., an automotive nameplate no longer being made. Your Scion still has value, of course, but not what it used to have.

Would you buy a Scion at this point? Sell one? Wait for a deal? Let us know.

-Keith Griffin

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