DETROIT -- Scion turns 10 years old this year, and even though the target customer is still Gen Y, the behavior of that demographic has changed dramatically, forcing Toyota's youth brand to alter its marketing and product-planning approach.
"A lot of our early stuff was menacing and sinister, and that appealed to an edgy, cynical consumer," said Doug Murtha, Scion vice president, in an interview at the auto show. Today's Scion buyers "want a little more daylight, a little less Gotham. We still have to differentiate our brand from Toyota, but it needs more positivity."
While it's tempting to keep Gen Y buyers in a convenient psychographic box, the millennials of 2004 had very different beliefs than those hitting driving age today, Murtha said. Today's young adults no longer have a hot economy and a cash-rich parental safety net to underpin their values.
"We are still targeting 18- to 34-year-olds, but 60 percent of that demographic bucket has changed since we came to market. Their makeup and experiences are different," Murtha said. There's more resourcefulness, less self-centered cynicism. But the independent-mindedness remains.