Scion didn't need an audit or focus group to see that the brand was almost invisible to online vehicle shoppers in its six-state Kansas City region.
As recently as November, a shopper searching Google for a "Scion xB Ames Iowa" would get listings on the crucial first page for Nissan dealerships, competitors' vehicles, the Scion factory Web site and third-party shopping sites. But rarely would a local Scion dealership appear.
And that was a glaring deficit given the young, Internet-savvy buyers typically attracted to Scion.
"It was hard to find us," admitted Tony Mueller, general manager of Toyota Motor Sales' Kansas City Region.
But Scion is changing its online presence in a pilot it launched in December. Scion is buying pay-per-click advertising on Google for all 41 Scion stores in the region, Mueller said.
Moreover, the same third-party vendor buying the advertising, Haystak Digital Marketing, is helping the stores improve their visibility on the organic or nonpaid portion of Google search pages, he said.