Sinking Scion sales and questions about the brand’s future direction could lead to pruning the company’s bloated dealer network.
Currently, Scion’s 1,000-dealer U.S. network doesn’t match its sales volumes, which peaked in 2006 at 173,034 units. The brand has only sold 41,261 units through July, prompting tough questions at the management level.
Scion “probably has a few too many [stores] at this point,” U.S. group vice president-Toyota Division Bill Fay said to Ward’s Auto. Toyota brass will “continue to look at (store viability) on an individual basis with Scion dealers, their long-term plans and whether they want to continue to represent us with the franchise,” he said.
Initially, the company was meant to focus on young buyers with relatively little volume. But strong demand spurred a series of dealers sprouting up that are now struggling to move enough models.
Niche brands typically a fraction if the stores than Scion does, which is surprising considering its typically conservative brand. Reports that Toyota might move the marque upmarket could still prove to be true, but Fay said it is only one possibility being considered.
The FR-S sports coupe is currently the only nameplate in Scion’s stable with improving sales. Through July, 11,635 had left dealer lots, which is more than double what the car had sold through the same period last year.
[Source: Ward’s Auto]
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