• Kyodo

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Cars being sold under Toyota Motor Corp.’s new Scion brand are being snapped up in California — the only place they’re available.

Sales totaled about 5,000 units through August, following their June launch.

At a specialized Scion display corner in a Toyota dealership on the outskirts of Los Angeles, 25-year-old Socrates Garcia checked out the box-type xB, observing that the vehicle has a wide interior.

The xB is popularly known in Japan as the bB.

At present, two models — the xA (known in Japan as the ist) and the xB — are available, though a sports model will be added to the menu next year.

The Scion is Toyota’s third brand in the United States, following the Toyota and high-end Lexus brands.

It is targeted at late teens to 25-year-olds, but the average Scion buyer is 36, much younger than Toyota’s average 48-year-old customer.

Scion dealers also showcase various specialized accessories, such as aluminum wheels. Each Scion customer is purchasing an average of $900 worth of these gadgets, three times the amount car buyers usually spend on accessories, the dealer said.

The dealer said the store has eased its car loan conditions in view of the lower income of Generation Y customers.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., a Toyota U.S. sales unit, is relying on word of mouth and street-based promotional events to pitch its products, rather than on TV commercials.

Young consumers are said to reject conventional uniform advertising and sales methods, forcing each automaker to change its sales strategy.

The company will gradually expand its sales area, with the number of outlets selling Scions set to be increased to some 700 nationwide by June.

Jim Farley, 41, vice president of the U.S. unit in charge of Scion sales, said that most Scion customers are new to Toyota vehicles, adding that the brand’s role is to lead young people toward eventually buying Toyota and Lexus models.

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