Use the Drop in Subcompact Prices to Your Advantage

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Looking for good, basic transportation? You can’t do much better than the used subcompact market, whether you’re searching for a used car or crossover.

But don’t think you’ll save only in the subcompact used-car market. Smart maneuvering could afford you savings in other segments as well….

According to the latest research from Black Book, which evaluates the used-car market by attending hundreds of used-car auctions a week, both used cars and crossovers have shown price drops far exceeding anything else in the used-car universe.

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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.

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Toyota Killing the Scion Brand, Keeping Some Cars

Scion-C-HR-Concept

Perhaps you’ve heard by now that Scion will soon be a thing of the past.

The brand that Toyota created 13 years ago to win younger buyers and act as a platform for new ideas will dissolve. Most of the brand’s current lineup, however, will remain available under the Toyota umbrella.

Usually when an automaker decides to end a brand, it discontinues both the brand and all associated models. Think Pontiac, Hummer, Saturn…the list goes on. This isn’t a traditional discontinuation, though. It’s more like a rollover.

And that’s actually really good news.

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Scion Comes Roaring Back

2015 Scion iA

Toyota handed Scion a pre-wrapped, easy-to-hit home run when it decided the hotly hyped new GT-86 sports car would wear a Scion badge.

That car became the Scion FR-S and was supposed to light the brand on fire. The lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports car was the answer to Scion’s woes and a kickstart to Toyota’s return to excitement.

Except it didn’t really turn out that way. The FR-S has sold well, but it remains a niche car that has never reached overwhelming popularity with the masses.

Last month, Scion finally caught fire and roared back on the scene of relevancy. Did FR-S sales finally hit redline?

Nope. The credit goes to a subcompact sedan and a new 4-door hatch.

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Scion’s Comeback Effort Looks Like an Old Toyota

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Let me be clear: I don’t think Toyota needs the Scion brand.

The initial intent in creating Scion was to appeal to a younger crowd at a lower price point with small but exciting vehicles. It worked for a little while but Scion has slowly been dying in recent years.

The cars, with the exception of the great FR-S (which should have been a Toyota) are lifeless and dull.

Regardless of this humble car blogger’s opinion, Scion trudges on and will introduce a new vehicle at the LA Auto Show this week.

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Scion Dealers Weeding Themselves Out

Toyota FT-86 Convertible

It’s not a good sign for an automaker when dealers want to opt out of selling its cars.

Believe it or not, that’s exactly what’s happening to Toyota.

Scion, the decade-old brand that Toyota debuted to target young people with entry-level cars, has stagnated.

Here’s the problem: Youth-focused cars should either age with their audience or stay fresh to attract more young people. Toyota has done neither with Scion, and now sales have jumped off a cliff. Older people don’t want a mediocre relic from the past, and younger people don’t want the cars their older brothers thought were cool a decade ago.

With the exception of the FR-S, Scion dealers don’t have anything new or exciting to sell, and some would rather opt out than keep new Scions on the showroom floor.

Another ominous sign:

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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.

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Cars Coming Soon: Toyota FT-86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ

Scion FR-S concept

Scion FR-S Concept

Toyota is like an old man.

“Stodgy” might be a good word to describe the company’s driving dynamics lately. Yes, its rock-solid reliability reputation seems to be intact, but there’s not a lot of spunk left in the ol’ company. Its cars have gained weight. They don’t move very fast. There may be some bloat in certain places.

So what should an aging company do to reignite the feeling of youth?

Grab a bottle of wine, play some Jay Sean music and seduce a young, fun partner. That’s what Toyota did, essentially, with Subaru, and the result of the long courtship between the two is the Toyota FT-86/Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S triplets.

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