Scion, 2003 – 2016. Tesla, 2008 – ?

Despite the nonconformist image, “underground” marketing, transparent menu pricing and streamlined sales process — the Scion phenom is done after just over a decade. GenX had Scion fever for a little while. Millennials? Cold.*

Implications for Tesla? Unclear. Tesla, too, has a nonconformist image, underground marketing, transparent menu pricing and streamlined sales process. Young people like Tesla and surely aspire to the brand, but two problems loom:

  1. They’re not as passionate about cars.
  2. Car ownership might phase out anyway.

All the more raison d’être for the “learning fleet” of Autopilot vehicles and a swift move into autonomy and shared mobility. Today’s youth may admire Tesla, but that doesn’t mean they’ll ever buy one, even if they grow up during Model III mania. Tesla hats and hoodies? Probably. Cell phone cases? Hell yeah. Big metal things that cost a fortune and sit there motionless most of the time while transferring your money to that GEICO creature or the Progressive, um, creature? Nay. You’re better off just hailing one with your phone and posing with it. Get the maximum “mileage,” so to speak, then ditch it before the bill gets too high.

As GenX moved on, Toyota failed to show Millennials what makes a Scion a Scion. In the coming decade, Tesla will have to define what makes a Tesla a Tesla. Silent but deadly performance? Nonconformity? All good answers — for now.

*Toyota says Scion simply isn’t necessary to court young people because the Toyota name is cool enough. This fails to explain the very recent release of the iA and iM, neither of which are selling well.

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2 thoughts on “Scion, 2003 – 2016. Tesla, 2008 – ?

  1. Alan says:

    The reason Scion died is it’s not a Toyota anymore. It’s a Subaru.


  2. RWF says:

    And the Scion iA is really just a Mazda 2 sedan. Yes, half-assedness certainly didn’t help Scion brand equity any.


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