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iM disappointed with you, Scion!

Scion announces their new iA and iM.

By: Anthony Fongaro | May 2015


At The 2015 New York Auto Show, Scion unveiled two new cars: the 2016 iM and the 2016 iA. Now before I get into why these cars may possibly ruin Scion’s reputation, we need to see why Scion was created in the first place. 

“What moves you?” This is the slightly ironic slogan that Scion has been asking American consumers since 2003. Scion was the end result of parent company Toyota realizing that their average consumers were born before the car was actually invented (or between 56-62 years old), and they needed a “hip and cool image.”  Instead of simply launching a new and interesting cars, they spent millions of dollars developing a new brand altogether. Thus Scion was born!

10 2005 Scion xA 2 11 2005 Scion xB 2

                                        2003 Scion xA                                                                     2003 Scion xB

If you went to any auto show in the early 2000s, you would have seen the Scion stands displaying many modified versions of their vehicles in vibrant colors. Scion initially launched with three cars: the boxy xB which became a cult classic; the “I literally don’t care about what I drive as long as it’s cheap and has some seats and doors” xA (later called the xD but honestly no one cares since no one bought one); and a year later their sports car wannabe tC.  Insert some marketing and Scion was a fully fledged brand for younger buyers.

And you know what? Toyota’s plan worked! The average age of a Scion owner was between 35-39 years old.

2012ScionIQ031 2

2013 Scion iQ

Since Scion is the cool kid from Toyota’s loins, it received two cars that the only changes were the names and a few badges. You have the actual sports car that Scion should have had in the first place, the FR-S, and the very ironically named iQ. Word of advice: don’t call your vehicle the “iQ” unless it can do something extraordinary or futuristic like having an autonomous or self-driving mode for a very low price.

2015 NYIAS Scion iA 006 2 2015 NYIAS Scion iM 004 2

                                  2016 Scion iA                                                                           2016 Scion iM

Which brings us to the two cars that will be replacing the box-on-wheels xB and the “can I go home now”? xA/xD.

And they’re...just some hatchback and some sedan. Really? Is that what this generation wants? Just some hatchback and some sedan? The iM is basically a Toyota Corolla hatchback (which is the most interesting car in the world if you have a penchant for watching grass grow) and the iA isn’t even a Toyota! It’s actually a Mazda but with cheaper materials and somehow looks uglier then the car it’s based on.

I really wish I was in the meeting with the people who thought the iM and iA were a good idea. I bet the conversation went something like: “Alright, instead of making interesting cars for a younger generation, we will launch two cars that are worse than the cars that they are based off of and… that’s that! Let’s order Jimmy John’s.”

If the iM and the iA were launched as Toyotas in America, this wouldn’t be as bad. Don’t get me wrong, they will probably be terrible little cars that their only appeal is good mileage. As Toyotas, these would blend into any parking lot like every other Toyota. Scions are supposed to be different. The problem is the iA and iM are aimed at younger buyers and having crappy products with low price tags just don't cut it anymore. Scion doesn’t have to make sporty cars; they have to make quirky, striking, and interesting cars.

So we go back to Scion’s slogan. “What moves you?” With the iM and iA, what moves me definitely isn’t a Scion.


Photos provided by Toyota Motor Corporation.

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