Tag Archives: Scion

2010’s Worst-Selling Cars

2010’s Worst-Selling Cars

After bottoming out in 2009, auto industry sales are slowly recovering. The U.S. will sell about 11.5 million cars and light trucks this year, up from 10.4 million in 2009. And the news only gets better: IHS Automotive forecasts sales of 12.8 million vehicles in 2011, and 17.1 million by 2015.

Total light vehicle sales are up 11.1% through November, with many brands beating the trend and gaining market share: Buick is up 53.5%, Cadillac is up 38%, Infiniti is up 26% and Ford, Hyundai and Jeep are each up 23%.

But while most carmakers are enjoying gains from last year’s dismal sales levels, the bounce is not universal. Some models are just languishing on dealer lots, victims of outdated designs, lack of marketing support and intense competition.

Forbes studied industry sales figures through November to cull a list of the year’s worst-selling vehicles. We tossed out brands like Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer that are being killed, and didn’t count vehicles that are being discontinued like the Chrysler PT Cruiser or Kia Rondo. We also excluded cars that we know are in the midst of a model life cycle change because sales typically fall as automakers are trying to clear out the old design before ramping up production of the new one.

We found that practically the entire SuzukiSZKMF.PK – news– people ) lineup is in the doldrums, lost amid tougher competition. Sales are down 42% for the year overall, with vehicles like the compact SX4, Grand Vitara SUV and Equator pickup dying on the vine for lack of resources. But there’s reason to hope: The new Kazashi mid-sized sedan has been well-received, and Suzuki plans to launch a new advertising campaign on Christmas. It’s working to refresh its lineup, too. After ending its long-term relationship with General Motors, the Japanese carmaker is now in talks with Volkswagen (VLKAF.PK – news – people ) about co-developing new vehicles.

Other poor performers include the fuel-sipping Smart ForTwo, which was all the rage in 2008, when gas was $4 a gallon, but has endured a two-year sales collapse. The quirky two-seater from Germany’s Daimler AG is down 60% this year, on top of a 41% decline in 2009. Penske Automotive GroupPAGnews – people ), which distributes the vehicle in the U.S., is now testing Car2Go, a car-sharing concept for Smart, and plans to market an electric Smart soon.

Small cars in general aren’t selling as well now that gas prices have fallen and pickups and larger vehicles are making a comeback. It doesn’t help if your company has taken a beating on quality issues, either. Toyota (TM – news – people )’s Yaris subcompact, for instance, is down 37.6% and its Scion xD is down 31%. Both are about two years old, and face stiff competition in a newly crowded market segment. They’ve been tarnished, too, by Toyota’s widely publicized quality recalls. Overall, Toyota sales are down 0.8% so far this year.

Also struggling to stand out from the crowd is the Mazda (MZDAF.PK – news – people ) Tribute, a poor stepchild in Mazda’s lineup of snappy coupes and sports cars. It’s based on the Ford Escape crossover, but pales in comparison because it hasn’t been updated with some of Ford’s appealing high-tech features. Consumers have figured out they might as well buy the Escape.

In this economy, nobody really needs a sports car. Thus, the sports car segment is suffering. The Mazda RX 8 is down 50% from a year ago, and the PorschePSEPF.PK – news people ) Cayman is down 31%. Porsche hopes the newly introduced Cayman R, featuring Porsche’s most-powerful mid-engine, will add a little excitement to boost sales

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Scion seeks second wind; Observers say innovation needed; line is to expand

Through October, Scion’s U.S. sales have fallen a resounding 50.6% versus 2008 — far more than Toyota’s corporate decline of 23.2%, worse even than the Chrysler Group’s 38% freefall.

Outsiders suggest the brand created to revitalize Toyota’s stodgy image may have lost its way, but Scion plans to expand its lineup and replace its mainstay tC coupe.

Scion debuted with hoopla in 2003. Developed by a team of young Toyota executives, Scion promised to sell a new kind of car in a new way.

The cars would be small, inexpensive and above all, cool. They’d win a new generation of buyers who dismissed Toyota as their parents’ car. Scion took guerrilla marketing corporate, teaming the appeal of indie rock bands with the engineering and sales savvy of the world’s most profitable automaker.

Scion launched with two cars: the xA, a little hatchback that never sold well, and the xB, a funky little box that quickly became the brand’s icon. It added the tC, which joined the xB as a second hit for the brand, in 2004.

Scion’s first act was a success, but it stumbled with the encore. The xD hatchback sold at about the same rate as the xA it replaced. The second-generation xB grew bigger and more powerful than the original, losing much of the first car’s hip club-goer appeal.

“Scion should be Toyota’s innovation factory — always at the cutting edge of where the auto industry is headed,” said Jim Hall, managing director of 2953 Analytics in Birmingham. “Scion should reinvent itself every five years.”

Early success may have undermined those change-the-system-from-within goals. Scion sales rose steadily, peaking at 173,034 in 2006 before beginning a three-year decline. Every automaker’s sales plummeted in 2008-09, but Scion dropped nearly 25% in 2007, the last of the auto industry’s boom years.

“Scion hasn’t been a standout for any product reason,” said Mike Bernacchi, a marketing professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. “There hasn’t been much innovation from Scion vehicles. It made an early splash, but hasn’t shown great legs.”

There’s a disconnect between Scion’s cars and its marketing message, said Rebecca Lindland of IHS Global Insight.

“Generation Y,” the 25- to 31-year-olds Scion targets, “doesn’t like to be patronized,” Lindland said. “You can’t force guerilla marketing onto a product that doesn’t appeal to them any more than you can give yourself a nickname.”

Scion scored some notable successes, however. The median age of Scion buyers — 47 — is second lowest among all brands, said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision, a San Diego research firm. However, it has trended steadily older since being an industry-leading 41 in 2006, he said. The median age of all new-vehicle buyers in 2009 was 54.

Scion’s internal figures show a lower median age, and three-quarters of Scion buyers are new to Toyota Corp., said Scion Vice President Jack Hollis. “We have the youngest customers in the industry.

“Scion’s not about sales totals,” Hollis said. “It’s about getting a new type of customer.”

Scion was initially conceived to have a two- or three-vehicle lineup, but it’s going to grow.

“My goal is to expand,” Hollis said. “There’s no way to say if it will be four, five or six models. We’ve got to figure out what’s the next type of buyer we want to reach and develop vehicles for them.”

Scion’s goal was never to keep buyers for a lifetime, but to feed them into a lifetime as Toyota and Lexus owners.

“They started with a very innovative and aggressive idea,” said Stephanie Brinley of AutoPacific. “When the first vehicles were successful, they got nervous about losing sales and lost the innovation.”

Scion’s next defining moment is to come when it replaces the sporty tC in 2010.

“Creating a brand to feed buyers into Toyota and Lexus is risky,” Lindland said. “If it doesn’t work, you’re committed to a brand that loses money. We’re not sure how many additional vehicles Toyota has sold because of Scion.

“Just because a brand has a mission, that doesn’t mean it will succeed.”

DELAND TOYOTA SCION CAR SHOW EVENT– HUGE SUCCESS!

DELAND TOYOTA SCION’S, www.delandtoyota.com,  CAR SHOW EVENT, “SPOOKY SCIONS,” WAS A RAVING SUCCESS.

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

Spooky Scions Costume Contest Winner!

Spooky Scions Costume Contest Winner!

Over 45 cars attended the show.
Although it officially started at 4pm, people starting showing up to register at 1:30!
The first 30 registrants were impressed and thankful to receive their free gift– a $25 gas card!
People had a great time with the Halloween Theme!
Attendees dressed up their cars… and their dogs!
We handed out Trick-or-Treat Candy, Masks, and Goodies
Some Highlights include…
Our Halloween Costume Contest brought out daring attendees. The crowd cheered for their favorite. Three winners were chosen; all received a cash prize.
The S.E.T. Scion Party Crashers, www.scionpartycrashers.com   showed up too! The b-boys danced in the middle of the show while the girls registered attendees for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas!

Great Turnout! Packed Lot!

Great Turnout! Packed Lot!

DJ Chino from 102 JAMZ www.102jamz.com  played hot music all afternoon and judged the “Best Sound” category for those who wanted to show off their sound systems.
 
 
Official Scion specialists from Deland Toyota Scion judged each vehicle on: uniqueness, performance, interior, tires and rims, and overall appearance.

We distributed trophy plaques to all 7 category winners!

Category Winners and Trophies!

Category Winners and Trophies!

 
People’s Choice, our newest category for this show, was a great success. It encouraged attendees to mingle, get to know one another, and contact with neighboring scion car clubs. We had over 60 people’s choice entries!
 
 
 
The positive responses after the show on the scion forums are overwhelming. Check out the posts from people that had a geat time showing off their ride!
http://www.scionlife.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=237853&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=40