With the death of Scion and the subsequent rebranding of its two surviving stablemates Toyota revealed that the Scion FR-S will live to see another day and be reborn as the 2017 Toyota 86.
The rebranding allows the performance coupe to fall in line with Toyota’s global naming scheme and also shed its connection with the now deceased Scion brand. Prior to this latest name change, the FR-S was known as the GT86 or simply 86 in world markets since 2012 when the model was first introduced.
“When we announced the transition of the Scion models to Toyota we hadn’t planned on changing the names of the cars. But by popular demand for our sports car we decided to adopt the global name of 86” stated Toyota VP Bill Fay.
In addition to the new name, the 86 also receives several upgrades to help it embrace its new lease on life. The exterior styling for example has received several improvements and now features new LED headlights and turn signals as well as a revised front bumper that incorporates a new grille assembly that is much more pronounced than before. The rear end has also been reworked and now features a new rear bumper and revised LED tailights that are much sportier than before. Rounding out the list of changes are a new set of alloy wheels that now feature a twisted spoke design to help make the profile look sharper than before. Toyota also upgraded the interior, and while it retains its driver focused layout, it now incorporates new “Grandlux” material that makes its way to the instrument panel and door panels as well as new seating material that now features silver contrast stitching to help brighten up the otherwise Teutonic styled interior.
The main change here is under the hood with the 86 making slightly more power than before. While it is not the turbocharger or supercharger that some enthusiasts have clamored for, the still naturally aspirated 2.0 liter four cylinder now makes 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque when paired with the standard six speed manual transmission. This is a gain of five horsepower and is roughly the same gain in torque. The transmission also gains new gear ratios to help it bring this extra oomph to the rear wheels more efficiently. Toyota engineers left no stone unturned and even upgraded the car’s handling manners thanks to slightly retuned shocks and equally tweaked spring rates.
Look for the 2017 86 to make its formal debut at the New York Auto Show next week in what will be a key event for Toyota with the Japanese firm unveiling the 2017 Highlander as well as a new Prius variant, and the rebranded iA and iM.
In an announcement released earlier today Toyota revealed its finalized lineup for all the Scion vehicles that were displaced following the shutdown of the brand a few months ago due to flagging sales.
When the brand was chopped in February, it was known that the iA, iM, CHR, and the FR-S would live on, but it was unclear where they would fit in Toyota’s diverse model lineup. Today’s announcement clarifies this, and should please Scion loyalists. While we will be covering the updated 86 sports car in a separate report, the budget minded iA will become the Toyota Yaris iA. A bit awkward sounding perhaps, but look for the newly minted member of the Yaris family to add some life to sales of the subcompact thanks to its Mazda roots, as well as its budget minded sticker price.
Meanwhile the iM hatchback will be spun into the Corolla lineup, and be known as the Toyota Corolla iM. Like its smaller iA brand cousin, the new name is a bit of a mouthful, but it does make sense when it comes to the topic of overseas alignment. In many other parts of the world the iM is either simply known as the Corolla hatchback or the Auris depending on which market you happen to be in. Plus, the hatchback would allow the Corolla to be a contender in the small but hotly contested hatchback segment.
As for the mediocre and outdated tC coupe, that model will join the Scion brand in the automotive graveyard, but not before the all new “Release Series 10.0” makes its way to showrooms. Like past Release Series models, this one will feature exclusive paint as well as several minor revisions in a bid to give the two door a proper farewell.
Look for marketing support to gradually wind down during the summer, with Toyota finally pulling the plug sometime in fall though it may take some dealers a bit longer than that to formally remove all the various Scion logos from their buildings.
After 13 years it appears that the end is near for Scion with Toyota confirming that it plans to axe its struggling youth brand.
The decision comes as no suprise considering that Scion has had a rocky history in recent years. First launched in 2002 as a brand designed to appeal to youth buyers, Scion’s two initial offerings the xA and the xB helped fuel the initial excitement for their models. This initial success peaked in 2006 when the brand sold over 175,000 units.
Unfortunately in subsequent years, Scion’s sales have eroded away with the brand selling only 56,167 vehicles last year a noticeable plunge when compared to that peak 2006 high. However the low sales highlight only a portion of the troubles that plagued Scion.
The key issue is that despite trying to appeal to younger buyers with lower pricing and edgy marketing, Scion never truly reached its desired demographic target. In fact the opposite has happened, with some reports claiming that the average buyer was 49 years old. This was a double edged sword that ultimately proved to be a key aspect of Scion’s demise since the influx of older buyers drove away their target audience, and kept them away from the brand.
Scion CEO Jim Lentz remained positive about the situation stating “This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota.” He elaborated further revealing “Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would’ve been challenging to test through the Toyota network.”
As for Scion’s lineup of vehicles, Toyota is not planning to end their production. Instead, the majority of them will be rebadged as Toyota models starting in August for the 2017 model year. The lone exception would be the tC which will cease production with the launch of a final “Release” model series. The upcoming C-HR CUV would also join the fold as a Toyota model which would allow the Japanese carmaker to have a contender in the compact CUV segment.
In an announcement released earlier today, Scion (Toyota’s youth oriented brand) revealed that it plans on bringing an all new concept car to the 2015 LA Auto Show that could possibly hint at the brand’s long rumored foray into the exploding CUV market.
Scion did not release any further details, but the mystery model would be the third all new offering for the brand, and follow on the heels of the recently launched IA sedan, and iM hatchback in their quest to increase Scion’s sales while also winning back younger buyers. The brand was also quick to reveal that the new model would arrive in showrooms by 2017, which would mean that the brand is aiming for a quick launch of the production version.
It is currently unknown what segment the new model will compete in, but rampant speculation appears to suggest that it will possibly be a crossover model that would be smaller than the RAV 4, and compete with rivals such as the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, and the Mazda CX-3. It would also give the brand its first utility minded model since the old xB which was a slow seller for the brand especially when it entered its second iteration.
Toyota first showcased a vehicle of this size with the C-HR concept back in 2014 at the Paris Motor Show. It is reported that the C-HR has since advanced to the early prototype stage, which means that an appearance in 2017 is highly likely for both the Toyota and Scion versions. Look for the new and currently unnamed CUV to arrive with a standard four cylinder engine with a hybrid option joining the fold sometime after its formal launch to appease fuel conscious buyers.
Look for Scion to gradually trickle more information regarding its upcoming concept car in the near future with its formal debut taking place November 18th. Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for the latest developments on the upcoming concept as they become available.