Bob Carter, a top U.S. Toyota executive said no fresh models are set in the immediate future to rejuvenate the ailing youth-oriented Scion brand.
Carter, the senior vice president of Toyota Motor Sales USA said that while the company’s main Toyota brand is rolling out fresh products this year, the 1,000 U.S. Toyota dealers that also handle Scion will have to wait longer.
“We have a very robust and very exciting product cadence coming for Scion, however, it’s further down the pipeline,” Carter told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
While some analysts said that signaled the beginning of the end of the Scion brand at Toyota, Carter said that was not so. Still, he admitted that Scion sales are sagging, and told the dealers that with no new product coming soon, they could without any repercussions devote the showroom space to Toyota-branded products that they now use for Scion.
The brand’s sales through August were down 1.6% from a year earlier. At this pace, this year’s Scion sales will be only about 40% of that of the brand’s peak year in 2006.
One of the main reasons Toyota dealers are still hanging on to the Scion franchise is that nearly 75% of Scion customers are first-time buyers, said Carter, and when they buy a second vehicle, they stay with Scion or move up to Toyota or Lexus.