What Toyota Should do with Scion and Prius

We’ve seen these ‘trendy’ brands come – and go. Can you say Hummer? So should a car brand be built on something beyond todays fleeting fashion and style?  In Hummer’s case, how many militaristic 4x4s can a consumer market absorb – regardless of gas prices.  As a new series of products, they were novel and intriguing. Enough so to make you look past the compromises to everyday usage. And even if gas remained cheap, I suspect the novelty of Hummer would have gradually faded. But certainly not before there were Hummer mid-size sedans in order to grow volume at any cost (the H6 or H7…)  So now we have Scion and can it and a dealer network be supported by a brand that markets only to hip young people who like to party and customize their rides? The 90’s are over and squadrons of customized Honda Civics and the Tuner Mags have seen their rise and fall as a trend. Sure, some will remain but the mass marketization of customization has likely run its course. Now all we have left are cars that are built with quality, well designed, and full of the latest technology – for young and old people. But to say that Scion and Hummer weren’t the right decision at the time would be too much. They may have been the right decision if there was incremental revenue and profit. And what if these Fashion Brands are treated as such – brands that are hot and then cold. They could come and go with the seasons or decades never meaning to last a century. There would be no pretense for unique dealer networks but perhaps just a showroom. As the trends come and go, so would the brand. Toyota is now planning to expand the Prius name to a larger van and smaller coupe/sedan. It seems like a natural progression and one wonders why they haven’t done it sooner. Toyota should definitely take advantage of the Prius ‘trend’ while its still hot.  Eventually the market will be flooded with high quality, well designed hybrids and BEVs so Prius had better exploit it’s brand equity before it too shall fade.