NEW YORK - Showing two concepts here last week that will be the basis of the first vehicles for the Scion youth brand, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. COO Jim Press said the new sales channel is as much an experiment as a business proposition.
"This is the classroom for us," Press said. "We're listening. Are we going to make mistakes? You bet we are. But as Thomas Edison said, when you stop experimenting, you stop making progress."
Toyota hopes to sell 100,000 Scion vehicles annually by 2005, by which time it expects to have three vehicles in the channel.
The two Scion concepts, the ccX and bbX, are familiar. The ccX was unveiled at the Detroit auto show as a Toyota and the bbX is a modified version of the Japan-market Black Box microvan.
While the vehicles look unique to the U.S. market, Press said Scion is not simply trying to draw attention to the name. "It's not about being cool or hip or funky," he said. "It's about creating a new atmosphere where new buyers want to do business."
New buyers, often limited to entry-level vehicles, should find Scion vehicles available at "well under $18,000," Press said. Also, the vehicles will have standard features such as air conditioning, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD player and sport seats.