TRAVERSE CITY, MI –Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s Scion brand is on a roll this year, achieving the same sales volume in the first seven months of 2005 that it achieved in nearly 11 months last year.
Because of Scion’s impressive tally to date of 90,150 units, Jim Press, president and chief operating officer-TMSUSA, tells Ward’s here that it is possible a 140,000-unit sales year could be in order for the niche youth brand.
“Our factories are working as hard as they can to produce them, but there’s only so many hours in a day,” says Press of the demand for the brand’s three models: the xA, xB and tC. The xA and xB are produced at’s Takaoka, Japan, plant and the tC is made at the auto maker’s Tsutsumi, Japan, facility.
tC selling at fast clip.
A more modest sales goal for 2005 would be in the 130,000- to 135,000-unit range, he says. Those numbers still would surpass last year’s tally of just under 100,000 units.
Press denies the slow-selling xA needs help. “One of them has to be the smallest (volume),” he says of the three models. The xA sold 15,419 units in the U.S. during the first seven months. The tC sold 42,767 and the xB saw 31,964 deliveries in the period.
“We are going to refresh the car, but heck, this is only our first year,” Press says of the Scion brand, which rolled out nationally in July 2004.
“We haven’t even had a year’s time with it.”
Press says one reason the xA is lagging in sales is because it shares componentry with the xB, and the xB has had a waiting list. “So the (Scion) mix is probably now sorting out,” he says of Toyota’s decision to build more xBs.
Scion last year pegged expected demand at 40% each for the tC and xB, with the xA rounding out the mix at 20% of total sales. (See related story: Scion Likely to Hit Sales Goals )
Press denies there is a plan to build Scion models in North America. Reports surfaced earlier this summer that Toyota’s new plant in Woodstock, Ont., Canada, coming on line in 2008, would build Scions. (See related story: Toyota Selects Canadian Site for Seventh Plant)
However, when official plans were announced, only the Toyota RAV4 was disclosed. Press also shoots down any suggestion the next-generation RAV4 and next-generation Scion models will share a common platform.
“The next-generation Scion products will not just be on one platform,” he says. “(Scion vehicles) will be on appropriate platforms for the individual product in the segment (they are) focused on.”