TORRANCE, Calif., March 3, 2009 - While not quite as old as the automobile itself, car clubs have been around for decades, outgrowths of enthusiasts’ intense desire to honor their favorite makes and/or models and share that reverence with other like-minded people. Over the last 10 years, online communities have accelerated the growth of many clubs; nowhere is this more evident than among Scion supporters.
With colorful names like Scikotics, ScioNRG, Sciontology, Scinergy and Sciontific, among others, Scion owner clubs have been forming and prospering since shortly after the brand launched in 2003. These loose-knit organizations are similar to the generations of automotive fan groups that preceded them, with most featuring a pecking order of officers and meets at regular intervals, and many attending car shows en masse as statements of solidarity. Most of these clubs are free to join, and unlike groups from the old days, a forum-based website is usually central to keeping members informed and in touch with one another.
While Scion clubs today number in the dozens, there are a handful of national groups that have been around from the beginning and boast hundreds of members in numerous chapters.
Scikotics (pronounced “psychotics”) started in 2005 in Tulsa, Okla., as an offshoot of the Scion Life web forum and today reports some 70 chapters stretching across the United States. Scikotics also claims to be the largest free Scion owners club in the world, and even has its own cookie recipe.
Tying the chapters together is a single shared message board where each subset has its own area to post local events and have conversations, but there are also many common areas for all members, regardless of region. If a particular club is hosting a car show or event, like Sibling Rivalry in Jacksonville, Fla., or Scikotics Sanitarium in Atlanta, Ga., an effort is made by other Scikotics clubs in the area to go support their fellow Scikotics.
Every summer in Tulsa, Scikotics holds its Scikotics Asylum, a Scion-specific national car show. In past years, Asylum has been a two-day weekend event, with Friday serving as a meet-and-greet and Saturday reserved for the main car show. Later in the day, after trophies are awarded, there is usually a cruise through downtown Tulsa. For more on Scikotics, please visit www.scikotics.com.
Team ScioNRG (pronounced “Scion energy”) is another free nationwide enthusiast organization laying claim to hundreds of members and 10 chapters, most based in the East Coast. The club was founded in 2004 by Omar Chavez, who also used the Scion Life site to initially reach out to fellow owners and appeal to their sense of community.
The first meet, which was held in New York, pulled in a half dozen cars, and as more people joined from all over the U.S. ScioNRG organized into chapters, each lead by a president and vice president who organize meets and disseminate info to members. As current club CEO Jennifer Rhodes points out, Team ScioNRG is about having fun and being respectful and thankful for all the events Scion provides to owners of its cars.
Each chapter gets together at least once a month, and as a team ScioNRG attends local car shows, as well as Scion-sponsored events such as Scion Exposed and ScionVIP. ScioNRG has been recognized as the “Most Enthusiastic Team” by Scion and "Best Team" three years in a row at various Scion Exposed events. Members also participate in national car shows like Hot Import Nights. For more on ScioNRG, visit www.teamscionrg.com.
The granddaddy of Scion enthusiast clubs is Scion Evolution (SE), the first and largest in the nation. The enthusiast collective, founded in 2004, boasts some 17 chapters in North America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and members numbering upwards of 600.
Like the other clubs, Scion Evolution’s roots sprang from the website Scion Life, which was employed to organize the first Scion Exposed event in history. Members of a small West Coast clique of Scion owners known as Team Scion West put the wheels in motion for the Exposed affair, and to everyone’s surprise roughly 300-400 Scions turned out at the decommissioned El Toro Marine base in Irvine, Calif., for the inaugural event. Organizers used the opportunity to enlist owners for Evolution, and the rest was history.
Today Scion Evolution maintains a tight relationship with Scion corporate, but each regional chapter is fairly independent. Each conducts monthly meetings, and the group is heavily involved with its sponsors to provide show vehicles and other support at various events. Certain chapters are also involved in charity work, like SE: Chicago, which tries to hold a fundraiser every other month according to liaison Ray Martinez. Previous beneficiaries include the Lupus Foundation of America, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries International, among others. For more about Scion Evolution, please visit www.scionevolution.org.
These three clubs are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other groups defined by region, specific model and even gender. Some of those clubs include:
Gold Coast Scions
Team Scion Eyed