Scion has adopted the “pay full price and smile” strategy that Tesla has done so well with. Will it work for the entry level brand as well as it has for the luxury EV maker?
Scion is ready to try new things. The brand that some worried might be going away last year is now down 17% year to date. One of its models, the iQ, sold just 65. Not sixty-five hundred. Sixty-five cars. New Scion models are on their way, but may not arrive soon enough to rev-up the brand sold inside of Toyota dealerships. The new plan to turn things around is called the “Pure Price” The idea will be familiar to anyone who lived through the Saturn era. What the car is labeled is the price. No discounts, no haggling. The Pure Price is the same for everybody. On-line, in the dealership, anyplace one finds a new Scion priced by the brand or dealer, that is purchase price.
We used to call that the sticker price.
Tesla does this same thing. There is one small difference. Teslas are sold by young, smart, good-looking Tesla associates in cool design centers to wealthy people. Scions are sold inside Toyota dealerships to nervous college grads with debt up to their earbuds. Twelve feet away are new Corollas, Yaris, and other models in the same price range as Scions covered in neon stickers promising big savings, big discounts, special offers, a free panda with every purchase and zero percent financing for 196 months with no money down.
It should work. Toyota knows how to run a market research program. Having been around Toyota people a bit and listening to their projections and then looking back on my notes, what they predict usually comes to pass. We were a little less than truthful earlier. The scenario outlined above is actually not what Scion wants. Rather, they hope hip young dudes and dudettes will not come to the dealership, but instead are going to pause Big Bang Theory and surf on over with their Apple watches or Google glasses to Scion’s website. Once there, they will put a car in the basket and then hit “One-click checkout.”
Scion’s new plan has promise. The only real worry is that Scion’s new one-price policy may result in the automaker achieving US sales the same size as Tesla’s.