The first of the new Scion models went on sale in June of 2003, after being introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January of that year. Initially, new Scion cars were offered only through 105 dealers in California. In February of 2004, the brand was expanded to the rest of the country.
Aimed at a much younger new car buyer, a number of studies were done to establish the best way to reach the so-called Generation Y consumers. It was determined a campaign of guerilla marketing would indirectly endear the vehicles to Gen Y customers—to capture them where they “lived”.
The first two of the new Scion models to be offered in the United States were the boxy xB, which became the iconic model for the brand, and the more wedge-shaped xA, which looked almost conventional in comparison. To simplify the purchase process, the models were offered in one rather well equipped state of trim. While the new cars came to the U.S. badged Scion, they were actually Japanese home market Toyota models. The xA was known as the “ist” in Japan, while the xB was known as the Toyota bB.
One year later, the Scion tC “sport coupe” was introduced. These models would eventually go on to become the best-selling new Scion models—once the trendy xB’s novel appeal wore off. As the xB and xA were based on already running models, they were replaced rather quickly (for a car brand) with all-new products. The “second generation” xB and the xA’s replacement, the new Scion xD cars, were first shown in 2006—before being officially launched at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show.
In 2008, Toyota showed the iQ city car for the first time at the Geneva Auto Show in March of that year. This line of new Scion cars was brought to the United States as the Scion iQ for model year 2011. An ultra compact city car, sized almost halfway between a MINI Cooper and a Smart ForTwo, the new Scion iQ cars were also outfitted with an exceptionally luxurious interior and offered as the Aston Martin Cygnet.
Following the iQ, Scion introduced its first rear-drive sports car in the form of the new Scion FR-S for 2012. Developed in conjunction with Subaru, the Scion FR-S also features a horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. Ironically, the FR-S is Scion’s most conventional offering ever—to date.