As prepared for:
Vice President, Scion
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
2008 Scion xB/xD World Premiere Press Conference
2007 Chicago Auto Show, McCormick Place
February 8, 2007
Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us today as we begin another chapter in Scion's brief-but-eventful history.
It wasn't that long ago at the New York Auto Show that we announced a plan to bring to market a new line of cars and a new way of doing business.
We unveiled two concept vehicles, revealed our brand logo, and outlined our unique strategy.
And it was just two-and-a-half years ago that we completed our national roll-out of the Scion xA, xB and tC with a whole new group of buyers in mind.
Today, there are more than 142 million people in the United States under the age of 35. At Scion, we focus on a mere 10 percent of this youthful population by specifically targeting the true trend leaders.
They are the consumers who have changed the way business is done by demanding personalization and customization in all aspects of their lives.
Perhaps most importantly, they live on the web, literally and figuratively.
A show of hands, please…How many of you have visited SecondLife?
For those of you who have never seen it, it's an online virtual world, a parallel universe, where visitors create their own identities, where you can be anyone or anything you want to be.
Today for instance, while I'm here staging this press conference at McCormick Place, my younger, much better-looking and wealthier avatar is doing the same in Scion City within the Second Life community.
And many of the participants in that on-line audience will be Scion owners.
As you can see, it's not just about finding new ways of grabbing attention or piquing interest. Instead, it's about engaging and connecting with how and where they live their lives, by being there and being relevant.
Last year, we were relevant to more than 173,000 new-car buyers with the lowest median age in the industry.
And for good reason. From day one, Scion was designed to be a laboratory of change with a business model that was based on surprisingly versatile, uniquely styled, high-content products; an accessible, interesting and simple sales process; a focused, vertical approach to marketing and advertising which avoids trying to be all things to all people; and a commitment to the art, fashion and music worlds frequented by creative young adults.
Not only is it a model that has succeeded for us, it's a model that has been quickly adopted in varying degrees by both Lexus and Toyota Divisions.
However, one facet of the Scion business model that is uniquely its own is its dedication to keeping the model-lineup small, the model-cycles short, and the product-concepts fresh and a bit out of the ordinary.
Keeping it simple is a critical element of the Scion mystique, especially with the product. That's because Scion owners see their cars as a blank canvas on which they can make a defining statement about themselves.
For them, it's all about me, or it's all about we. But mostly, it's all about personalization.
In name and function they are each all about personalization.
You need go no further than our auto show floor display of serious tuner vehicles to see how customization is a core concept of the Scion brand.
And it all starts with keeping our product line simple, fresh and exclusive. Some models will be introduced for a single model-cycle. Others will move into second or even third generations. Such are the paths of the two new vehicles we are introducing today.
There is no question, that the spiritual icon for the Scion brand has been the xB. To us, it has been the perfect urban utility vehicle - roomy, fun and functional with a dose of in-your-face attitude.
The Scion xA has been the perfect complement to the xB. Where the xB attracted a more male audience, the xA skewed more towards female buyers.
Where the xB was hard-edged and a bit sinister, the xA was smooth and muscular, with a bulldog stance, and a less menacing disposition.
This past December, we stopped production of both the Scion xA and xB, leaving us with just enough product in the pipeline to meet customer demand until the arrival of two all-new products beginning early this year.
The first to arrive this April will be our party-in-a-box, the more powerful and more sinister second-generation Scion xB.
Arriving a few months later will be an all-new vehicle. It's a clever new take on the five-door urban subcompact…with style and flair to match its efficiency and utility.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce the second-generation Scion xB and the all-new Scion xD from off-the-rack to off-the-wall.
The launches of the all-new 2008 xB and xD are especially significant. That's because they mark the arrival of a second-wave of all-new products, products designed in response to demands from Scion owners.
No one in the industry, not even Lexus, is as hard-wire-connected to its owners as Scion.
They talk. We listen. And we respond.
The 2008 xB is a perfect example. We've said in the past, we'll probably always have a box in our line-up. Owners told us they wanted a bigger box.
- Riding on an all-new chassis, this new xB is now a foot longer and almost three inches wider than its predecessor.
Owners told us we should adopt the 2.4-liter engine that powers the Scion tC coupe.
- The new xB now gives drivers the added boost of an additional 55 horsepower with their choice of either a five-speed manual or a sequential-shift four-speed automatic, a Scion first.
Two years ago, we introduced the Calty-designed Scion t2B concept at the New York Auto Show. Owners told us to build it. So we did.
The new xB's styling was inspired by the t2B's wide stance, high beltline and simple rectangular edges, incorporating its inset headlamps that wrap around the side of the vehicle and rear inset taillights.
Inside, the xB has a relaxed lounge feel and mood with a focus on utility, storage, and seating flexibility. The xB's new deep-orange combination meter features a series of circular gauges.
On the far left the driver can select to view the gauge with either the clock, outside temperature, instantaneous MPG, average MPG, distance to empty or the average speed.
And when the xB engine is started, "xB" flashes for two seconds before the digital speedometer and odometer are displayed. We've also added four-wheel disc brakes and cruise control as standard features.
Joining the xB as an all-new addition to the 2008 lineup will be the Scion xD.
The xD shares its platform with the Toyota Yaris, introduced just last year. The xD's aggressive styling is wrapped in a small, agile package.
Its wide stance is distinguished by its widely-set horizontal headlights, high beltline, powerful front bumper, strong wheel flair, large 16-inch wheels and wheel covers shared with xB, and a narrow rear window.
The interior offers impressive details, utility and a spacious cabin. The dash is close to the driver for easier access to the controls and viewing of the gauges.
The futuristic styling of the center cluster gathers the speedometer and tachometer in one concentric circle gauge. The 60/40 fold-down rear seats slide up to six inches and recline up to 10 degrees for convenience and comfort.
No Scion would be complete without boxes and trays to stash your portable music player, sunglasses, water bottle and change. The rear cargo area is large enough to carry loads of everyday gear. We also have storage compartments under the floor in the rear cargo area.
The xD is powered by a 128-horsepower 1.8-liter engine with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i).
The engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic delivers 25 more horses than the previous xA and xB.
Scion owners place a high priority on fuel efficiency, so the estimated fuel economy of the new 1.8-liter engine is nearly the same as our current 1.5.
Consistent with Scion's dedication to simplicity and high content, both the xD and the xB are offered only as monospec, complete with more than the basic needs. The 160-watt audio system with mini-jack port, steering wheel audio controls, air conditioning, power windows, door locks, and ABS are all standard.
We've also added front seat-mounted side airbags and front and second-row side-curtain airbags to our list of standard safety features.
Because music is so important to our customers, we decided to make iPod connectivity standard. Owners can change tracks on their iPod using either the new Pioneer head unit or steering wheel audio controls. Plus they'll be able to see the song's name on the head unit display.
Because of the high content level of our monospec strategy, buyers need only choose the transmission and color. But of course, that's typically just the beginning. Our vehicles were designed to be a blank canvas for self-expression.
Over the last few years, we've worked closely with Five-Axis design studio to create a wide variety of show cars that demonstrate the endless customization possibilities of our vehicles.
For example, they transformed the xB into a thunderous mobile DJ/Music box and turned the tC into a state-of-the-art entertainment studio complete with a 42-inch plasma television.
This year, we made it simple, asking them to illustrate how a typical Scion owner might personalize their xB and xD with off-the shelf street mods, the majority of which are offered through Scion.
Both vehicles were fitted with Five-Axis-designed body kits and given custom paint jobs and interior color accent treatments.
Aftermarket coil suspension components were installed on xD to lower the ride height by two inches. And low-profile Yokohama tires were fitted to 19-inch Volk alloy wheels.
Finally, a Magnaflow exhaust system increases engine breathing and adds a more pronounced exhaust note.
The xB suspension was lowered by two inches and tuned by TRD, featuring their performance sway bar, strut tie bar, springs, and shocks. It was also fitted with TRD custom-styled 19 x 8-inch alloy wheels and performance front brake kit upgrade.
Peak horsepower is boosted 25 percent with TRD's supercharger and cold air intake.
From-off-the-rack to off-the-wall, Scion owners see their car as a way to make a statement. They're information savvy and they do their homework.
We're dealing with consumers who are used to getting it "their way." They've used our online configurator to determine things like color, wheels, shift knobs, and light kits. They know exactly what they want when they walk in the showroom door. And they appreciate the convenience and simplicity of our "Pure Price" sales process.
Our plan to develop unique products and processes that appeal to this new generation of buyers has obvious residual benefits. Nearly 80 percent of Scion buyers are new to Toyota.
For those Scion owners who have already replaced their Scion with another vehicle, eight out of the top ten replacement models are from the Toyota family.
In addition, the median age of Scion drivers is 30, making us the youngest brand in the industry.
One of the big reasons for Scion's success has been our ability to communicate with authenticity and relevance to young buyers. To live in their world and dance to their music, passively, and at times, almost invisibly.
The arrival of these two new products has inspired us to raise to a new level our ability to connect with young buyers on their level.
We are very proud and excited about these two new products. We are confident they will continue the Scion success story. And while we won't have final pricing for either of these vehicles until we get closer to launch, we can tell you that like all Scions, they will be a tremendous value. The xB will reach Scion dealers in April while the xD will launch in August.
I would like to introduce the two people most responsible for the new xD and xB.
Chief Engineer of the xD, Miura-san and Chief Engineer of xB, Fujita-san.
Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us today and providing us with such exciting new products.
I'd also like to thank the audience who logged in to SecondLife for joining our first-ever, parallel universe, world premiere press conference.
And thank you all for joining us this morning. The Scion team will be available and happy to answer any questions you may have.
At this time I'd like to give the photographers a chance to take pictures. After that I invite you all to come up and take a closer look.
Press kits and today's remarks are available at the back of the room.
Have a great day.