After a failed attempt to attract younger buyers directly to the Toyota, the Japanese automaker launched Scion with a debut at the New York Auto Show in March of 2002. Just pre-production two models sat on the show floor, the bbX, later known as the xB, and the ccX, which became the tC. The production versions showed up the following January at the LA Auto Show. This was followed by the launch of the 2004 models in June 2003. Throughout that year, Scion dealers slowly began to pop up in southern and eastern US states. It would be a full year before the cars were available coast to coast.
After hitting peak sales of 170,000 in 2006, the struggles began. The 2008 financial crisis played a heavy role in the decrease to 45,678 for the 2010 model year. Toyota hoped the brand’s competitive pricing model would ultimately save it, but sales continued to slump. The introduction of the FR-S sports car co-developed with Subaru in 2013 led to an initial bump, but expectation of other new models fell short.
As sales continued to slide, Toyota made an announcement on this day in 2016 stating that Scion production would end by the following August. Their explanation for dissolving the brand centered on the argument that a separate brand was not necessary to attract younger buyers to the Toyota family, a complete 180 from the original purpose of the brand itself. Several Scion models received Toyota badges moving forward, such as the FR-S becoming the Toyota 86. The name is certainly reflective of Scion being 86’d from the marketplace.