LOS ANGELES — Sales have dropped a hefty 26.5 percent this year at Toyota's Scion youth brand.
Are Scion sales in the tank? No, company managers say. Sales dropped when managers cut inventories during two model changeovers this spring.
Scion's new vice president, Jack Hollis, says Scion's mission — to cultivate a cool youth brand with word-of-mouth and Internet advertising — is on track.
The reason for the drop, he says: Scion's caretakers were so concerned about an overstock during the spring sell-down of the first-generation xA and xB they deliberately undersupplied dealers with buildout models.
But when inventories dried up too fast, many dealers were out of xA and xB models for several months. Combine that with the slow ramp-up of the second-generation xB and xD, as well as the soft overall market, and Scion sales are far below their record 2006.
Now that the redesigned xB and xD are reaching dealers in significant numbers, the daily sales rates, segment market share and demographics are on target, Hollis says. Scion has held its targets despite new small-car competitors, such as the Nissan Versa and Honda Fit.
"We still have the youngest median age of buyers at 29 years old," Hollis says, citing Toyota internal data.