Youth-oriented Scion vehicles will go on sale in Canada next September as Toyota Canada Inc. targets a 10-per-cent increase in sales to 220,000 cars and trucks amid a recovering auto market.
Three Scion models will be offered at 45 dealerships in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, with a national rollout planned for 2013, Toyota Canada president Yoichi Tomihara said yesterday.
By that year, Toyota is targeting sales of 30,000 Scion models annually, Mr. Tomihara said.
"I personally worked hard to bring Scion to Canada because Canadians told us they love smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles - and want more choices," he said.
Dealers in the three cities will sell the tC, a compact sport coupe, the xB, a five-door compact hatchback and the xD, a subcompact five-door hatchback.
Scion vehicles will go on sale as one of the youngest and largest demographic groups begins to enter the market and look particularly at small cars, Larry Hutchinson, director of Scion Canada, said in a statement.
Scion will join the Toyota and Lexus brands in the company's lineup.
Dealers sold about 113,000 Scion vehicles in the United States last year. Given the rule of thumb that Canadian sales represent about 10 per cent of U.S. sales, the 30,000 target looks too optimistic, said industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.
The addition of the third brand will come in what Mr. Tomihara expects to be an improving Canadian vehicle market next year.
This year has been discouraging, he noted, but "since the summertime, the market has been quickly recovering - faster than we expected."
That recovery has prompted Toyota Canada to raise its 2010 sales forecast for the Canadian market to 1.55 million, from an earlier expectation of 1.49 million, he said.
Toyota Canada sales fell 18 per cent to 152,482 from 185,771 as of the end of September.
That compares with a decline of 14 per cent for the entire market in the first nine months of the year.