Scion, the youth-oriented brand launched by Toyota a decade ago on the promise of luring the coveted 18-34 demographic into Toyota showrooms, has not lived up to its initial promise. With Scion an under-performing franchise for many Toyota dealers nationwide, Automotive News is reporting that Toyota Motor Sales USA is allowing dealers to drop the Scion franchise without penalty if they wish. Approximately 80 percent of U.S. Toyota dealers currently sell the Scion line.

Moving a peak of more than 170,000 cars in 2006, 2012 sales have dropped to just 73,505 for the entire Scion lineup, less than the sales of the Kia Soul alone for the same period, the best-selling vehicle in the subcompact "box car" category, a segment that the Scion xB at one time dominated. The xB sold only 19,787 units for 2012.

But TMS has not thrown the towel in on Scion just yet, promising future product to dealers that stick with the franchise. Among products reportedly shown at a recent dealer meeting are a sleek, aggressive subcompact SUV positioned below the Toyota RAV4 in size and price, as well as a convertible version of the popular new Subaru-based FR-S sport coupe. The FR-S convertible is reportedly further along than the SUV, with a prototype driven on stage at the dealer meeting, whereas only a silhouette sketch was shown of the SUV concept.

Source: Automotive News (subscription required)