NEW YORK – Scion Vice President Doug Murtha expects the redesigned-for-’14 tC to kick-start sales of the model and help the Toyota brand improve on last year’s 73,505 deliveries in the U.S.
“(The) tC has been solid, but we hope this puts the wind back in our sails for the rest of the lifecycle,” Murtha tells WardsAuto after introducing the revamped model at the New York International Auto Show today.
The tC accounted for 22,666 sales last year, up 1% from 2011, according to WardsAuto data. In 2006, the tC had its best year with 79,125 deliveries.
The ’14 model will arrive at dealers nationwide in June or July, giving the car just six months of sales for 2013. In a year’s time, Murtha thinks tC demand will exceed 2012 levels.
The Scion executive discounts the notion the tC might be losing traction as a result of the addition last year of the FR-S to the lineup. The cars are similarly sized coupes, he admits, but the tC is front-wheel-drive, compared with the longitudinal layout of the FR-S.
There’s also a price gap of $5,000 between the two, and the Tsutsumi, Japan-built tC adds the utility of a rear hatch and second-row seating, he adds.
“We’ve seen some cross-interest, but no concern of cannibalization either way,” Murtha says.
He sees Scion volume eclipsing 80,000 vehicles in 2013 in the U.S. Sales for the 10-year-old brand peaked at 173,034 in 2006.
“Scion has never necessarily been about volume, but at the same time we’re here to experiment and try new things and you need a certain level of throughput at the dealer level to achieve that experimentation,” Murtha says. “We’d like to be selling more and we think we are on the right course.”
He does not expect Scion to expand its lineup much, now that its stable has grown to five products from three last year.
“I don’t see us expanding beyond that,” he says. “Maybe six (models), but I don’t see 10.”
Expect a full-press marketing campaign behind the tC launch, Murtha adds. The combination of television, print and social media spots simultaneously will promote the five anniversary models Scion also debuts here.