Sports Car Success Hasn’t Swayed Scion’s Eclectic Mandate Says New Brand Boss

Sports Car Success Hasn’t Swayed Scion’s Eclectic Mandate Says New Brand Boss

With the FR-S selling well and a new push planned in motorsports to help further raises the car’s profile, Scion isn’t putting all its eggs in the performance basket says new brand boss Doug Murtha.

A change at the helm at Scion will not bring with it a change in philosophy, he tells

“We’re going to try to … keep a foot in the performance segment,” says Murtha, but “Our mandate it to experiment.” That said, while updates for the FR-S will come, don’t expect more performance models from the brand.

Rather than focus Scion on performance, Murtha outlines how the FR-S has worked as a draw to reinvigorate the brand and its other products, helping raise awareness and grow sales of its other models.

He admits skeptics worried that the FR-S would draw attention away from the rest of the Scion lineup. “There was potential it would be the only story,” he says, but instead, “it’s helping the brand in a big way.”

In addition, there were worries that the FR-S would not hit the brand’s demographic target. Being more expensive, buyers could skew older. That hasn’t happened, he says, with the average age of FR-S buyers currently sitting at 31 – making its buyers one of the youngest in the industry.

SEE MORE: Scion xB, xD to Live on Says New Brand Boss

As for what’s next for Scion, Murtha did confirm to AutoGuide that reports that the xB and xD models would be “sunsetted” were inaccurate. While not commenting on future product he did admit that past rumors of a compact pickup for Scion were more a reflection of the personal desires of his predecessor Jack Hollis, than actual product strategy or market demand.

As for what direction Scion is headed in from here, Murtha says, “We have always been somewhat of an eclectic lineup. No one size fits all. No clear common thread historically.” Moving forwards, “That’s the game plan,” he says.

  • As a happy 2011 xB owner, this pleases me.  That said, if I ever got the chance to bend Mr. Murtha’s ear, here are a few suggestions (because, really, what kind of Internet car nut would I be if I had nothing to complain about?):

    xB:  Soften the ride.  Redo the interior, particularly the dash and gauges.  Offer some color for the backlighting (which should be LED, until FIPEL comes to market) other than orange.  Make the rear seats fold down perfectly flat as opposed to 10-15 degrees.  Make the shell lighter (c’mon, the thing is based on the Vitz/Yaris platform).  Add a hatch release trigger to the driver’s seat area.  Redo the primary hatch button and make it a lever.  Boost fuel economy.  LOSE THE BLIND SPOT!

    xD:  Give buyers some reason to buy this and not a Vitz/Yaris (which, again, it is based on anyway).  Lose the blind spot.

    Both:  Add lots more customization options, particularly trim, wheels, interiors, and the like.  Dump Alpine as an in-car media provider unless they agree to update firmware to support more plug-in devices.  I shouldn’t have to worry if my smartphone will no longer communicate properly with my stereo after a routine software update.  Also dump Alpine if their user interfaces don’t improve radically.  Heck, offer a panel insert with a built-in iPad or iPad mini lightning dock, and/or a USB dock for Android tablets.