Crossovers Not Cool Says Scion Boss


The Nissan Juke surprised everyone. To be kind, it’s looks can be described as “different.” The drive, however, is plenty of fun and the packaging is certainly unique, being one of a new breed of vehicles: the sub-compact crossover.

Sized smaller than conventional cars like the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, the Juke has carved out a niche, selling 35,000 units annually. Now Honda is aiming to get into the segment with a rumored soft-roader based on the Fit.

With a targeted younger audience with less disposable income, a fun-to-drive crossover seems like a solid fit for the eclectic Scion brand. But that’s not necessarily how the Toyota youth division’s new boss see things.

“I don’t know that that’s something we really need,” said Doug Murtha, speaking to AutoGuide at the LA Auto Show. He admits that the Scion brand is, “about anything and everything,” and that, “from the standpoint of eclectic and new things, the Juke certainly occupies that space.” However, it’s the brand’s customer base, and not the product planners and executives who are hesitant, he says. “Historically we’ve found that segment hasn’t resonated with our target buyers.”

SEE MORE: Nissan Juke Video Review

Another thing holding Scion back is price. With all of its products under $25,000 and every car but the FR-S under $20,000 building a fun and funky crossover to meet that need wouldn’t be easy. Murtha also points out that in examining Juke sales, the majority of buyers are purchasing higher trim versions with prices well above the base MSRP. And with Scion committed to its mono-spec policy of offering just one trim level, it would be difficult to offer a competitive product at an attractive price.

With a crossover not in Scion’s immediate future, neither is a long-rumored compact pickup says Murtha, telling AutoGuide that any discussions of such a vehicle by his predecessor Jack Hollis were more about personal preference than actual brand direction.

Instead, look for Scion continue to ride the wave of success the FR-S has brought the brand and to focus on its core products, with new versions of the xB and xD on their way.