Scion Considering Chinese Expansion: Brand Boss Says

It’s fitting that a brand aiming itself at the auto industry’s youngest segment would be dealing with a little bit of an identity crisis. Isn’t that what so many of its customers are probably experiencing too?

Fitting or not, the brand that only meant to offer three cars from the outset is expanding to five with its FR-S and iQ models. Recent speculation suggested that the boxy xB might be on the way out, but brand boss Jack Hollis said that isn’t likely in the near future. No matter what decision the brand ultimately makes, one thing is for sure: the Scion approach to luring young customers in with low-cost vehicles has the world on notice.

Other brands are starting to catch on. Cars like the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark are meant to generate young appeal by offering a low-cost driving option. Scion is doing the same thing with it iQ, which brand boss Jack Hollis says will determine future offerings based on how it sells.

For now, the company is still firmly rooted in the youth market with its FR-S due out this year and sure to send young enthusiasts into a frenzy. That hysteria might not be restricted to the U.S. market. Toyota’s far-reaching brand recognition has been key in its success, but it seems that customers outside the U.S. might also be interested in taking a taste of Scion.

While there are no firm plans for such a move, Hollis acknowledged that one possibility could be moving into the Chinese market. He told The Detroit Burea that some of his worldwide counterparts “have shown much interest in Scion….and there’s been a lot of discussion globally about how Scion might fit in,” though again such plans are far form taking form.

Despite microcars like the Smart ForTwo struggling to sell, Hollis said he believes that the segment will gain traction in the near future. If there’s one thing it does well, Scion seems good at making those calls. If that gambit fails, the company can still fall back some of its other cars like the Lexus IS-based tC and the surefire FR-S.

Given that Hollis admits Scion might be going through changes in the near future, and that Toyota has been absent from the “fun car” market for quite a while, another possible option could see Scion turning into a budget-minded enthusiast brand with the FR-S as its flagship model.

[Source: The Detroit Bureau]

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