Toyota Had a Forgotten Sub-Brand Before Scion

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Jane Lu
Updated on Jun 27, 2022 · 3 min read
Automakers implement different marketing strategies to appeal to their target consumers.
created the Scion brand to appeal to the younger generation, including
college students
buying their
first car
, as they’re considered the future of car sales.
Scion focused on small cars with an image and style that were meant to be attractive to younger drivers. Although Scion ended production in 2016, it had a successful start.
said more than 1 million Scions were sold, and 50% were purchased by consumers under 35.
You might not have heard of this, but there was another sub-brand before Scion with the same goals.
Toyota has stayed at the top of the game with a great commitment to innovation

Before Scion, there was Project Genesis

According to
, long before Scion became a success, Toyota had launched Project Genesis in 1999. Project Genesis was a brand dedicated to young drivers and produced small, sporty, and cheap cars. Scion was born from Project Genesis.
The automaker planned to group three cars under the new brand. Project Genesis’ flagship model was the Echo, the least-expensive car in the lineup. Two existing models, the Celica and MR2 Spyder, were transferred from Toyota to Project Genesis.
Project Genesis was an ambitious but ultimately short-lived venture.

What contributed to the failure of Project Genesis?

Toyota ended its Project Genesis venture in 2001. Although Toyota had made significant advancements in making their cars more appealing to younger drivers, those drivers still preferred the better value models offered by competitors.
As reported by
, in its first year of launch, the Echo had a strong start, selling around 50,000 units in 2000. By 2004, Toyota sold less than 4,000 Echo vehicles.
The MR2 Spyder experienced low sales with poor market reception as it was depicted as impractical for younger generations, according to
. The first and second-generation MR2 models were much more popular.
The MR2 Spyder’s main competitor was the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Between 2000 to 2005, the MR2 Spyder sold around 25,000 units in the U.S., while the MX-5 Miata sold almost 80,000 units.
The Celica was successful, but the MR2 Spyder and the Echo contributed to the downfall of the sub-brand. These cars were also from segments that weren’t as popular with younger drivers.

The rise and fall of Scion

The experience and lessons learned from Project Genesis led to the growth and development of Scion.
As reported by
, Toyota announced its Scion brand at the 2002 New York Auto Show. Toyota showcased the xB and tC, two of its upcoming vehicles. The tC had a sporty appearance and a faster engine. But it couldn't keep up with competitors like the Honda Civic in later years.
Scion had high sales figures initially, but its numbers eventually declined. For Scion’s first year, the brand made over 170,000 sales. The xB was hugely successful because of its low price and large cargo capacity. But Scion eventually started losing the target audience it wanted to attract.

How has Toyota managed to stay on top?

Toyota’s commitment to innovation has led them to develop new technologies that are more efficient and safer than its competitors. Toyota is the largest auto manufacturing company in the world and they’re known to build
reliable vehicles
However, accidents can be unexpected, and it’s still important to make sure you have adequate car insurance.
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