More stories related to 2005 NAIAS DETROIT – Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s Scion brand not only is selling well in the U.S., but also in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

In fact, Scion Vice President Jim Farley tells Ward’s Puerto Rico eventually could account for 10% of total brand sales.

“In Puerto Rico, we sold just over 2,000 Scions (in calendar 2004),” says Farley. “And they’ve only been on sale since the end of August, so that’s four and a half months.”

Farley says Scion’s largest dealer anywhere is in Puerto Rico. In total, there are five Scion dealerships in the country. “It’s absolutely going like gangbusters,” he says. “I think Puerto Rico is a fantastic market for this (brand). Puerto Rico could be 10% of our business.”

Scion xB selling well in Puerto Rico.

Unlike U.S. buyers, who have favored the sleek tC coupe, the quirky xB is by far Scion’s most popular model in Puerto Rico, says Farley.

The success of Scion in the region is not a total surprise to Farley, however, noting Toyota has 30% market share in Puerto Rico.

Scions also are sold in the U.S. territory of Guam, but there is just one dealership there, so sales are “real marginal,” says Farley, with just 20 units moved per month.

Dealers in both regions have implemented Scion’s no-haggle pricing philosophy, as well as the brand’s desire to push accessories so owners can customize their vehicles.

In Hawaii, which is not part of TMSUSA but whose deliveries are rolled into TMSUSA sales figures, some 150 Scions are being moved monthly, says Farley.

Overall, Scion has more than 800 dealers, about double the number it had last summer when the tC coupe was introduced and when the Scion brand went national. That figure is roughly two thirds of all Toyota’s U.S. dealers.

“What’s very interesting about the dealership story is we see very little correlation between who sells a lot of Toyotas and who sells a lot of Scions,” Farley says.

Meanwhile, he says the brand is seeing conquest sales from “all the imports,” specifically American Honda Motor Co. Inc. and its Honda and Acura brands, as well as Nissan North America Inc.

The most unusual conquest sales are being seen with the boxy xB. Farley says even Rolls Royce owners have turned in their cars and bought the quirky model.

Some 85% of Scion buyers are new to Toyota, says Farley, and the brand now has 55% national recognition, which is higher than what was expected. Brand recognition remains highest (75%) in California.

Sales goals for 2005 are 120,000 units, Farley says, noting July will mark the first full year of Scion national sales,

cschweinsberg@primediabusiness.com