NEW YORK -- Scion is rolling out a pilot program that will allow vehicle owners to use other Toyota models as short-term loaners.
"The idea is the person purchasing a Scion gets limited access to the Toyota vehicle family," said Scion Vice President Doug Murtha. "So someone with an xB can get hold of a pickup or a van if they need it."
The Scion Swap program will be tested at dealerships in Miami, Houston and Phoenix.
Such concepts are one reason Toyota created Scion -- as a way to test ideas without involving the entire Toyota owner body. By using Scion stores, it can test smaller batches of customers but expand programs across the Toyota network if they prove successful. About 1,000 of Toyota's 1,200 dealers carry Scion.
Details are still being ironed out, but the Scion Swap Web site says Scion owners can get 10 complimentary rental days a year, although the Scion owner will be responsible for refueling and any damage. There are some mileage restrictions that rule out lengthy road trips.
Scion Swap dealers are offering rentals of the Camry, Sienna, Tacoma and Prius, though some dealers may have additional models available. Reservations are made through the Web site.
The program is currently undergoing what Murtha describes as "a systems check with dedicated software to enable the process." He said the software is "working really well." Later, the automaker will examine consumer take rates and market interest.