A decade ago, Toyota launched its Scion brand as a way to market small, affordable vehicles to young buyers through the use of music, pop culture, and exclusive models from the Japanese home market that could be customized through an array of dealer-installed extras.
Originally, the plan called for limited runs of these exclusive models as a way to foster a “get ‘em while they’re hot” sense of urgency with the target audience, but the success of models like the tC sports coupe and xB multi-purpose vehicle changed all that. Well, that coupled with a massive recession that forced Gen Yers to move back home and live with Mom and Dad to save money. Money that could not be spent on a new car. Which meant Scion wasn’t about to invest in product and marketing designed to appeal to people without means.
Fast-forward to today, and Toyota is telling its dealers that if they want to bail on Scion, they can. The idea is to reduce dealer count, perhaps to make the brand more exclusive. Rumor also has it that Toyota wants to move Scion away from the cheap sets of wheels it has historically sold, and reposition Scion as a more upscale and tech-driven brand building fun-to-drive cars. In fact, dealers were recently shown an FR-S Convertible and a small SUV that would compete with the Nissan Juke as examples of where Scion is headed in years to come.
This re-positioning of Scion likely means that the car you see here would vanish from the lineup. This is the 2013 Scion xD, one tricked out with Toyota Racing Development (TRD) parts. A relative rarity among sub-compact 5-door hatchbacks, Scion sells one xD for every four Sparks moved at the Chevrolet dealer, while Kia sells 14.5 Souls for every xD that hits the streets. Let’s just say you’re not going to see yourself coming and going if you elect to get an xD, especially one painted like our test car in Blue Streak Metallic with a Black roof, which costs $500 extra.