Toyota Scion XA: Why we didn’t buy American

Having lived through World War II, both my father and father-in-law wouldn’t dream of buying anything but an American car. One drives a Buick…the other a Cadillac. They’re fine cars but nothing I’d buy nor would my wife.

My bride drives a Japanese car and I a German one. We haven’t had an American car for nearly 18 years since quality, fit-n-finish and technology has continued to surpass what American car companies produce. Yesterday, we picked up a Toyota ScionXA for my college age daughter to drive (she was driving an old VW Jetta with lots of personal problems I was tired of fixing). I can only express my amazement at how a cheap car has been executed so flawlessly and what a joy this little ScionXA is as a driving experience.

This leads me to the point of this post: why in God’s name can’t American car manufacturer’s execute flawlessly? The base price on this Scion is $14,120 and then it’s Lego-like in its kit quality (you can add and add accessories over time). Their target market is first time, young car buyers and, for example, the sound system is better than what either my wife and I have in cars costing 3-5 times as much (think they know what their target market deems important!?!).

I read often how American car executives expound on “Well…we do more volume” and of course it’s easy for lower volume offerings to provide more overall return on a car buyers investment. Toyota (maker of the Scion) is on the brink of becoming the world’s largest car manufacturer so that argument doesn’t hold water.

The ride of this little car is fabulous. I’m not a small guy and yet I could sit in the back seat in relative comfort. I’m just shaking my head in amazement over what a package of technology and fit-n-finish this cheap car provides.

Unfortunately for American car companies, most people are like my family in that we choose products based on the biggest bang for the buck we can find. Edmunds shows the Chevy Aveo, Honda Civic (a second choice but more money for less goodies), Hyundai Elantra and Kia Rio. In comparison to the ScionXA, the American Aveo is cheaper but is a jaw-droppingly spartan alternative to the ScionXA.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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