Vice President, Scion
Scion Hako Coupe Concept World Premiere Press Conference
2008 New York International Auto Show, Javits Center
March 19, 2008
New York, NY
Good afternoon! Wow! Our owners sure know how to have fun, don't they? Their dedication to the brand is both genuine and astonishing, and it continues to grow. As you can see from that video, our owners are the most important indication that we've been doing things right from the beginning, which wasn't that long ago.
We've come a long way since Jim Lentz launched Scion six years ago here at the New York Auto Show. That's when we announced a plan to market a new line of cars, a new way of doing business, with a new group of buyers in mind.
When we started, our purpose was to be an experimental laboratory. Our business model was based on…
• surprisingly versatile, uniquely-styled, high-content products;
• focused, grassroots marketing and advertising which avoids trying to be all things to all people;
• a commitment to the creative community; and
• an accessible, transparent and simple sales process.
This business model has succeeded, and elements of it have been quickly adopted by both Lexus and Toyota Divisions.
We know our business philosophy is working because we're accomplishing our goals:
• to bring young and new customers to Toyota;
• to retain them within our family of brands, and
• to build an enthusiastic customer base.
Scion's median age is 30, the youngest in the industry. The tC has a median age of 24, while xD is 37 and xB is at 39. Sure, we may sell some cars to customers outside our target, but these folks know a fantastic product, are young at heart and are trendsetters for their demographic.
Over 72 percent of Scion customers are new to Toyota. And our owners are so satisfied with the Scion experience, we're keeping them in the Toyota family. Many of our Scion customers have returned to the dealership to become passionate Toyota and Lexus owners.
So what's next for us?
Our target, just as it was when the brand started, is the young trend leaders, less than 10 percent of the 142 million people under 35 years old.
We're going to continue doing the things we did at launch.
Scion spends a considerable amount of effort on guerilla marketing campaigns. With over half a million units in operation, you can imagine how powerful and valuable word of mouth has been for Scion. Our passionate owners have helped us spread the word about the brand and build a community in which they want to actively participate. Scion is much more than a car company, it's a lifestyle.
Unlike most companies in the industry, we don't track our progress by how many vehicles we've sold. We've never been a volume brand and we don't plan to become one. Last year we sold just over 130,000 units. This year we'll maintain that same sales volume as awareness of the new xB and xD continues to grow.
Like we've said before, keeping our product line simple, fresh and exclusive are key to keeping our brand relevant.
Some models, like the xA, will be introduced for a single model-cycle. Others, like the xB, will move into second or even third generations.
As our brand matures, we need to think about how we will bring more young and new customers into the Toyota family. To do that with only three vehicles and a steady volume will be difficult. Over the next five years we'll be determining how to enhance our business while keeping our philosophy intact.
As an experimental youth brand, we'll continue to be innovative and authentic. It's our responsibility as the dedicated youth brand to bridge our customers into Toyota and Lexus as they expand. This doesn't mean we'll evolve to be as large as Lexus, but we will be bigger than we are today to introduce young people and a youthful enthusiasm to the Toyota family.
Looking at fresh, new concepts is something that Scion will be doing more often as we consider the possibility of adding a fourth, fifth or sixth vehicle to our lineup to expand the flow of youth into Toyota and Lexus.
We won't limit our search either. Will we have a truck in our line-up? Does it make sense to have a hybrid powertrain? Is a subcompact roadster the answer? Or will an SUV ever be viable for us?
We don't know the answers quite yet, but we're very open-minded.
We do know our vehicles need to have the surprise, style, utility and value that are appropriate for the youth market.
Today we're here to show you a new concept developed by our Tokyo Design Division. It's one of several concepts resulting from a study of global, youth-inspired trends.
Japanese and American youth cultures often influence each other. We see it in video games, cinema and fashion, just to name a few. Each culture interprets trends in their own unique way, producing something new and with a twist. The concept you are about to see was inspired by the emergence of American vintage style among young Japanese trendsetters.
This concept embodies a distinct global perspective on today's youth. This type of forward-thinking complements Scion. We intently listen to our owners to see where our brand should be and are always taking risks.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Scion Hako Coupe Concept.
That's right, Hako. Hako is the Japanese word for "box."
What do you think? Doesn't this compact coupe look great? If you think it's ugly, great. That's perfect. As you know, polarizing style fits in well with our lineup and our personality. And of course we love a good box.
The Hako Coupe's high beltline, vertical windshield, and strong flared fenders are reminiscent of classic American coupes popular with trendsetting youth.
The powerful front features a rectangular grille flanked by narrow, trapezoidal LED headlamps. The lower bumper echoes the top with small fog lamps and a narrow lower grille.
We love that slammed, sinister look. The Hako sits wide and low on deep dish 18-inch wheels. Smooth, yet defined edges combined with darkened windows that flow along the side and seamlessly wrap around the back, provide a mysterious personality and defined silhouette. Small, race car-inspired side mirrors break up the horizontal and vertical lines.
A flat, panorama roof displays a pattern that's visible from the interior and exterior. Today, the Hako's tone is set by an orange, random, barcode-like pattern. Who knows, one day an owner may be able to create a unique atmosphere by personalizing their Scion's roof display with messages or images.
The rear of the Hako is distinguished by LED tail lamps that mimic the shape of the headlights. Taking styling cues from the FUSE concept and current xB, the rear bumper houses an integrated fog and back up lamp on the left with the exhaust on the right.
A Scion concept wouldn't be complete without an integrated futuristic youth lounge. The gaming theme of the driver's area is communicated through an art-inspired instrument panel on the dash and steering wheel. A track-ball type control on the steering wheel allows for music library operation.
This concept has the potential to provide us with many technological "firsts."
For example, our owners wanted iPod integration and we were the first OEM in our segment to provide it. I'm excited about all the possibilities!
The front passenger's side features two video monitors devoted to entertainment. Because music is so important to our customers, the screens allow the passenger to navigate through their digital music collection.
A contemporary, yet sporty orange bucket seat keeps the driver comfortable. A similar, black bucket differentiates the space for the front passenger. Both front seatbacks incorporate a design that mirrors the overall shape of the seats.
The interior is sculpted from a urethane material for easy cleaning, as we know young people live in their vehicles.
For increased visibility and entertainment, a video monitor on each door and both sides of the back seats project wide, distorted fish-eye images from orange-filtered cameras located below each A-pillar. The driver and passenger can edit the scenes captured by the cameras to show their friends where they have been and perhaps even post the clip online for others to see.
This concept has so many features to offer, with a look that's so unforgettable. It would turn heads cruising Houston Street in The Village. And everyone would know it's a Scion.
My imagination is running wild with the performance possibilities that may be available to us through our friends at Toyota or maybe even Lexus.
The Hako Coupe is one of many concepts we are considering for the brand. We're always listening and look forward to your feedback. You'll see what direction we take as we grow along with Toyota and Lexus.
At this time, I'd like to thank the Tokyo Design team for one cool-looking concept.
Thank you all for joining us this afternoon. The Scion and Tokyo Design team and I will be available and happy to answer any questions you may have.
Have a wonderful day and enjoy the rest of the show.