Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





Is Scion Toyota's Saturn?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
Scion sales are down by more than the industry average, and the brand seems to be losing its mojo. Is Scion experiencing a temporary setback, or is there a flaw in the business model of a separate youth brand?

There are probably many more differences than parallels between Scion and Saturn (hmmm, both names begin with "S" and end with "n," though), but does Scion have a long term future?

Comments

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    to sell the new iQ and a new RWD sport coupe (co-developed with Subaru) under the Scion name, so I think the brand will be given at least a few years to see if those models will rejuvenate it. But if things haven't substantially turned around at Scion by 2015, I think it will be toast.

    The comparison between Scion and Saturn is stretching it, as Scion is really just Toyota's youth brand, whereas Saturn was GM's attempt to out-Japanese the Japanese, including stand-alone dealers and a whole lot of very UN youth-oriented product (remember the little SW wagons from the first 8 years or so?).

    In retrospect I think we will find the Scion experiment to be as unsatisfying as the Saturn one was. Both GM and Toyota could have sold these cars out of Chevy and Toyota dealerships quite easily without having to go to the expense of separate branding. They let their core brands get stale and uninteresting, and then they created a whole new brand to try and revive showroom traffic in the key demographics they had lost? Silly notion. They have only themselves to blame.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    Plus many of the reliability reports on the Scion are way below that of Toyota.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    I look for the iQ to be better than the Smart. It'll be interesting to see how it competes against the base Fiat 500 (the more powerful and expensive 500 Abarth will compete against the MINI Cooper).

    The RWD sports coupe (or sports car?) could be a strong contender against the Miata. I may be interested in this car, if the design and style are right. I like the Miata, but its styling just doesn't excite me. Although this new car will compete in a niche market, the discontinued Solstice and Sky will make some room for Scion's new entry.

    In addition, Scion will be introducing the second generation tC. I've read that it'll be equipped with a version of the 2.7 four that's used in the Venza.

    It'll be interesting to see whether these models spark renewed interest in Scion, beyond the first model year.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    Yes, but even if these new models are successful, there is no reason they couldn't have added them to the Toyota brand instead and made that brand more interesting. Instead, they are conceding that the Toyota name is SO stale that no-one under 40 will shop it. If they are just going to concede that than it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and they are doomed in the long run.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,973
    will end up being more like what Geo was to Chevy. Decent enough cars for the most part, but no real need for a separate identity, so it'll just ultimately get folded back into Toyota. Actually, I heard that when you buy a Scion, it's actually titled and registered as a Toyota. Is that true?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    Yup, apparently it is a "Toyota Scion" on the title.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,973
    I wonder how Geos were titled? Would it have been "Geo", or "Toyota", "Suzuki", or "Isuzu", depending on who actually built the vehicle for them?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    It wasn't Chevrolet Geo?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    On the contrary,as per CR,Scion has higher reliability ratings than Toyota. And not "way below" as you say ! ;)
  • JD Power says the opposite.

    image
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    Yeah, as some of y'all know, I tend to trust JD Power more than CR.

    And what does True Delta say?

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • No idea not a member there just follow his postings from time to time because I find them interesting.

    If I owned a car new enough to bother submitting to True Delta I would be a member.

    I find CRs statistical analysis to be very suspect and I don't trust their very nonrandom sample either. I have problems with what JD Powers calls a problem too though but I am sure the same problem is true of CR.

    For Example and pardon the run on sentence:

    Someone goes from owning relatively light weight FWD sedans where the brakes make it 60,000 miles before needing to be changed and you can turn the rotors. The buy more luxurious euro sedan that is heavy and AWD where the brakes probably won't make it to 30,000 miles and you have to replace the rotors every time.

    The average person who subscribes to CR is most likely not going to understand that and might report it as a problem.

    I saw it all the time with Rovers too. Someone goes from owning small to mid size SUVs or sedans and buys their first LR3 that weighs over 6,000 lbs empty. They run through the brakes in 20,000 miles and the tires in 30,000 miles. Oh and the repairs cost two or three times as much as their old car. Even when you tell someone that ahead of time, which I did, they still get pretty mad.

    Sometimes you can make them understand that all the components on this car are larger and built to higher specs so they are more expensive. It costs a good bit of money to engineer a 6,000 lbs vehicle that can stop from 60 mph in 115 feet.

    Much of that money is reflected in the cost of replacement parts.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    will end up being more like what Geo was to Chevy.

    I agree .. .

    Both were 'sub brands' sold at the same dealership location.
    Both were meant to appeal to a different type of buyer than the 'legacy' brand.
    Both will ultimately be deemed a failure.

    I agree with nippon - why not rebadge the new tC as the "Celica" and the iQ as, well, perhaps a new name will be necessary. Not sure that a revival of the "Tercel" and "Echo" badges will resonate with the public.

    Would save on marketing and advertising costs.
  • ldislerldisler Posts: 82
    Had a 1994 Geo Prizm, and it was titled as a Chevrolet Prizm.
    BTW: the Prizm was probably the best car Chevy sold in the 90's (it was a Toyota after all).
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,973
    Someone goes from owning relatively light weight FWD sedans where the brakes make it 60,000 miles before needing to be changed and you can turn the rotors. The buy more luxurious euro sedan that is heavy and AWD where the brakes probably won't make it to 30,000 miles and you have to replace the rotors every time.

    The average person who subscribes to CR is most likely not going to understand that and might report it as a problem.
    j

    I understand that logic, but whether it's a "problem", "repair", "normal wear-and-tear", etc, the bottom line is that it still represents a time and money cost for the owner.

    And in the overall scheme of things, if an "average" car goes through its brakes every 50,000 miles, and car X goes through them every 30,000, that's still "worse than average"...whether it was engineered that way or not.

    When I run spreadsheets on my cars, I do separate what I consider "repairs" and what I consider "maintenance". However, I do still keep both in mind, as both still end up costing me time and money. Besides, maintenance is just a scheduled repair, while a repair is simply unscheduled maintenance. :P

    Still, I do understand the concept that a bigger, heavier vehicle is going to wear some components out more quickly. So I'm not going to get mad at it when it happens.
  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    It is easy to trash CR b`cos it is accurate??C`mon! Just because CR trashes the Landrovers ,it is a joke?? CR is the most accurate reliability sata out there.The CEO`s of Ford and GM themselves agree that their CR ratings are low compared to Toyota/Honda and they have some work to do..And folks disagree the car makers` acceptance of a bad product. :confuse:

    I have owned Toyota/Lexus/Dodge/Saturn/Nissan/Honda down the last 8 years and in every instance CR was so darn accurate.It was like if there is a black dot then invariably you would get that problem.Check any vehicle with a black dot and search for that problem in google.I have owned both American and Japanese brands.Not a big fan of the very unreliable European sedans.Must say the Dodge was really junk.POC really.CR`s reliability data was like a science.Every problem that I had ,CR showed a black dot.And make no mistake Lexus/Toyota are the most reliable cars I have ever owned.And Landrovers are absolutely the worst as per CR.So is that a gripe I notice?? .. :lemon:

    And JD Power!! Well,what do I say??The biggest joke in the auto industry. Their CEO himself agrees to this.They have a same rating for engine failure and a cupholder problem?? :sick: And automakers always tout these stupid JD ratings.Did you notice that the brands that always tout JD ratings are the ones that have the worst CR ratings especially the LandRover`s.And they indicate a 90 day quality survey ..90 days?? Don't know what to say.Here`s the link :
    link title

    And CR`s data interpretation is not simply a red dot/black data inference.You need to read their FAQ`s to full understand their ratings.And I am posting a link to that also.Unless the problems are real bad ,a black dot is not given.And also CR is not comparing cars to SUV`s or economy cars to luxury cars.They compare cars that are from the same category like economy cars,SUV`s ,luxury cars,minivans separately- not lumping them all together.Here`s the link:
    link title

    It`s a pretty long FAQ list and your every question should be answered.
    And Scion is definitely more reliable than any LandRover ever , any day, any time. :shades:
  • It is easy to trash CR b`cos it is accurate??C`mon! Just because CR trashes the Landrovers ,it is a joke?? CR is the most accurate reliability sata out there.The CEO`s of Ford and GM themselves agree that their CR ratings are low compared to Toyota/Honda and they have some work to do..And folks disagree the car makers` acceptance of a bad product.

    Ok first off stop putting words in my mouth. I never said CR was a joke I said I had some problems with the way they report their statistics and that I don't think their sample is random. Both of those are legitimate concerns as their sample set really isn't random and they have revised their definition of average as cars have gotten more reliable.

    I agree that Land Rovers are below average in reliability but really how far below a very high average are they? Some surveys would make you think they can't get off the lot without a problem and that just isn't true.

    As to sample size right on the FAQ you gave me CR said this...

    2.2. How many samples do you have of each model?
    While we do not publish information on individual sample sizes for specific models, we require a minimum of around 100 cars to publish reliability information for a model in a given model year. Our sample sizes tend to track quite closely with market sales. Individual sample sizes vary from year to year and range from a hundred to several thousand for the more popular models. A typical model has about 200 to 400 samples for each model year and engine variant.


    IMO a 100 cars is not enough for a good sample. All it takes is a couple of pissed off customers or a couple of customers who don't understand the survey in a small sample size like that to ruin your data. We see it all the time in manufacturer CSI surveys if someone doesn't understand the survey they can trash you without even meaning too.

    When I took stats in college 300 or so was the minimum for a good sample size of a large population. Obviously their were calculations used to figure out an optimum sample size but I rarely remember coming up with sample sizes down around the 100 range.

    Yeah they say 100 is fine for smaller samples but I just don't think that is necessarily true.

    And JD Power!! Well,what do I say??The biggest joke in the auto industry. Their CEO himself agrees to this.They have a same rating for engine failure and a cupholder problem?? And automakers always tout these stupid JD ratings.Did you notice that the brands that always tout JD ratings are the ones that have the worst CR ratings especially the LandRover`s.And they indicate a 90 day quality survey ..90 days?? Don't know what to say.Here`s the link :

    Actually in all my experience with Land Rovers I don't ever remember them touting JD Powers ever. Would love to see a link of them doing so.

    The 90 day IQS measures build quality which is an important thing to measure. Generally two things cause problems either a component was installed incorrectly or designed wrong. Something that was installed incorrectly will probably show up in the first 90 days Survey but something that was designed wrong might not.

    As to the problem that JD Powers has with cup holders, brake dust and engine failures all being rated the same I did say I had a problem with that. I guess you missed it let me repost it.

    I find CRs statistical analysis to be very suspect and I don't trust their very nonrandom sample either. I have problems with what JD Powers calls a problem too though but I am sure the same problem is true of CR.

    A lot of it comes down to what is a failure and what is maintenance. Struts that need to be replaced in 30,000 miles is a failure but if they need to be replaced in 80,000 is that a failure or just normal life?

    If a CR survey responder reports it as a failure but that is normal life for that class of car does CR make the proper adjustments? I would hope so but do they?

    Air suspensions are always a bit troublesome but you gain a better ride and better control of the car because of them. If they fail and need replacement when is it too soon for it to be considered regular maintenance? It will probably happen sooner then traditional suspensions even on similar sized and priced vehicles. Should that be counted against the vehicle even if their performance is vastly superior to a regular suspension?

    Recently we sold a E500 with the Airmatic option. The car was six years old and had around 70,000 miles on it. Checked out good with no problems in the shop but it is a Mercedes and well things that can break are expensive. About a month after we sold it the airmatic struts died. We had to cover the repair at around $1,200 a strut plus labor. Now I have seen these struts fail before this age and that is a problem for sure but I have seen them last to past 100,000 miles too. At just over 70,000 miles it is a failure or normal life? Obviously it was a problem for us cause it wiped out almost all the profit for the deal but in the overall since is it a failure?

    I don't know its a toss up to me. A 545i, a A6 or a E500 without Airmatic probably wouldn't have had a problem at 70,000 miles but they might have. The E500 with Airmatic was a better riding and handling vehicle then all those other cars. The only car that would be close is a Jag with CATS(Computer Active Technology Suspension) but that system is not air ride and won't be as smooth. A caddy with Magnaride might equal it without the inherent problems of Air Suspension but I don't have enough experience with Magnaride to say one way or the other.

    Is such a vastly improved ride and handling worth the potential failure and greater expense when replacement is due?

    Some people think so or they wouldn't buy the vehicles.

    A Rover customer of ours typically bought a new Luxury SUV every year and never the same brand let alone the same model back to back. In 2005 he traded in his 2005 Cayenne S, hated the ride in that car way too stiff and painful, for a 2006 Range Rover Sport. He bought the first car we got in stock and had some significant problems. Mostly related to the air suspension but once we got those fixed he loved the car. He kept that car for 18 months longer then he had kept a car in years and bought a 2007 Supercharged Sport to replace it. He replaced that 2007 with a 2008 and recently replaced that 2008 with the first 2010 SC Sport we got in stock.

    His exact words to us were, "I realize these cars may have a couple of more problems then other vehicles but I will live with those problems because their performance vastly exceeds anything else I can buy." This guy can buy just about whatever he wants and has a M6 right now too.

    As to Scion exceeding Land Rover's reliability I would hope so they only have about a quarter the systems a Rover does. There are over 40 computers in a Range Rover alone. Do you think all the technology comes without a cost?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,973
    I wonder how CR sorts out a failure that wasn't necessarily the car's fault? For instance, when the a/c blew in my 2000 Intrepid back in February, it was a $1300 repair bill that I wasn't too happy about. However, I consider it my fault and not that of the car, since I knew the system had a slow leak in it. I was trying to nurse it along until the spring, but then in February while running the defrost, the compressor finally seized up and took a few other components with it.

    I would presume that most people, if filling out a survey, would still mark that down as a repair, whether it was the car's fault or not.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Check out this Toyota concept in Edmund's Inside Line.

    I think the production version of this sporty compact RWD coupe has the potential to be a real winner. However, shouldn't it be badged as a Scion instead of a Toyota? Another question that comes to mind is, to what extent will this RWD 2+2 compete with the tC?

    Being RWD, it's possible that there will be limited cross shopping between this small Toyota and sporty FWD cars. I'd be surprised if Toyota didn't have the respective positioning of it's forthcoming RWD small car and the Scion tC sorted out, but it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    Here's the link. And it doesn't "look" like a Scion. ;)

    image

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    The reason the new coupe can't be a Scion is because it will be priced well over $20K, which is deemed to be outside Scion territory.

    They will, however, be renewing the tC, which will get bigger and stay FWD (and under $20K for starting price). They will be two fairly different animals when all is said and done.

    I think Toyota is planning for the new FT86 to be a niche model with few sales. I'm sure they hope to sell many more tCs than that.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    I think you nailed the answers to the questions I raised. Thanks.

    Based on the very limited information we have about the Toyota RWD 2+2 and the next generation tC, which appeals to you more?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    The tC has never appealed to me and still won't when it is revised. It has the weight (and powertrain) of a 2-door Camry, which turns me off. I have high hopes for the FT86 thingummy though, and either that or the Honda CRZ will almost certainly be my next new car.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Yeah, the weight of the tC is a minus in my book too. Hadn't thought about the Camry engine as a deficiency, though, but now that you mention it a lighter car could have a smaller, higher revving engine and the same power-to-weight ratio. That would be an improvement. I like the tC's styling, though. Can't say I'm absolutely nuts over it, but I like the straight forward simplicity of its lines. In addition, I must give credit for the fact that it has a very roomy back seat for a compact coupe, plus entry and exit are fairly easier. Most other small coupes, including ones that are larger than the tC, such as the Mustang, have less back seat leg room, and are difficult to enter and exit.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    There are major differences between Saturn and Scion, but it wouldn't surprise me if Scion was quietly closed within about three years. I know they're planning to introduce a new tC and maybe a version of the iQ, so there's some new product in the pipeline, but after a successful rollout of this new brand about six years ago, the brand has lost momentum. I think they could fold most or all of the Scion models into the Toyota brand. This would be easier than shutting down Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn because, first, Scions are sold and serviced at Toyota dealers. Therefore, no dealers would have to be shut down. Second, Toyota's investment in Scion is relatively modest. Third, Scion has underperformed in its bid to become the youth brand. It probably has a younger demographic than Toyota, but it doesn't seem to have dented Civic, Mazda 3, Hyundai or even Focus sales.

    Is Scion now the first or second aspirational brand for people under 30? I don't think so.
  • make their very own pick-em-up truck. I can almost imagine such a beast.

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/marty-blog/1041684_report-scion-still-keen-on-pi- ckup-truck

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    "The economic woes of America’s twenty-somethings have forced Scion to broaden its demographic target to include the rest of the Millennial generation, up to age 35. “It’s a function of affordability and the state of economics for 18- to 24-year-olds, with high unemployment,” said Owen Peacock, national marketing communications manager for Scion. “They’re focused on things like college and debt load. At the end of the day, do you go with a small target or go after those who can actually buy a car now? So you need to adjust.”

    By Zeus! Now, Scion Pursues Thirty-Somethings (AutoObserver)

    image

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    Scion is Toyota's Saturn.. Time to consolidate just like GM/Ford have done. Toyota needs to go back to its roots of building Toyota small vehicles and just call them Toyota's.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    I don't think the stand-alone Scion brand has worked out too well either. But now it looks like Toyota may spin Prius off as separate brand.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    "For the fourth year in a row, Toyota's Scion, a brand geared toward young people, had the fewest problems" (in Consumer Reports' annual auto reliability survey).

    Consumer Reports: Ford quality slips, Chrysler gains as Japanese brands dominate top rankings (startribune.com)

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

Sign In or Register to comment.