The brand is especially interested in the 15 percent of that group it defines as trendsetters who can influence others.
Such people are more likely to show up at an inner-city art gallery, cinema complex, or dance club than a ritzy country club, Farley says. And automakers surely won't reach them with traditional spots on broadcast TV, he adds.
"The buyers we're after don't like to be sold to," he says. "They like to express their individuality. They appreciate authenticity, and they like discovering things on their own and on their own time. So we have no choice but to go to them."
The median age of Scion buyers is 34, the automaker says, compared with 49 for Toyota and 55 for Lexus. Scion owners are 52 percent male and 45 percent nonwhite. At least 85 percent of Scion buyers are new to Toyota brands.
"We needed to bring more men into our car family," says Brian Bolain, Scion's national sales promotion manager. "We have a higher penetration among diversity audiences than Toyota, particularly in the Hispanic market."
Scott Upham, senior vice president of Harris Interactive, an automotive consulting firm in Rochester, N.Y., says Scion's marketing aims to influence the hip part of society.
"The go-to person is highly socially active and has a large network of family, co-workers and friends who look to them for what's cool," Upham says. Scion executives "feel that marketing to hip trendsetters is going to be a much easier penetration of the market, (to) get buzz and word-of-mouth around the product."
A series of test-drive events in 2004 included seven big cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. This year's drive program will visit 50 smaller markets, such as Hoboken, N.J.; Savannah, Ga.; and Tucson, Ariz. Scion also plans a round of military base tours.
"We have an opt-in feature in everything we do," Bolain says. "We try not to push. It's been very successful to take test drives to the marketplace instead of (buyers) coming to us. And it's more fun for us."