Scion wants to get back to where it once belonged. That would be when it was a really unique brand with offbeat J-pop cars. Other automakers did their takes on the boxy xB and the cute rolling a-frame, the xA.
Returning to the brand is the prodigal marketer, Andrew Gilleland (dispensation granted for Biblical analogy, given who is in New York on Friday), who handled national field operations for the brand, which back then was marketed with determination to a young buyer, ideally right out of their teens. The brand retained a low median age for its buyers, but the cars lost some of their hip mojo, because others jumped in the kids' sandbox. He hasn't actually left the fold, as he held numerous jobs at sibling Toyota in the 10 years since he was at Scion.
That he was national field operations for Scion means he was also central to the marketing back then, since the brand's mantra out of the gate was no-haggle and after-market car personalization, all of which happened at dealerships, whose showrooms were designed, and staff trained, with the young buyer in mind.
Now, with new vehicles — the iM 5-door and iA sports sedan — rolling into those dealerships, and a new digital sales platform that enables customers to remotely take care of the more invidious deal-closing processes, Gilleland is back as VP of the Toyota Motor Sales division. The company says that as in days of yore, back in the early millennium, he will remain very involved with dealerships -- again with a charge to bring in young buyers.
Said Gilleland in a statement: “Scion has sold nearly a million vehicles since I left in 2005 and I’m excited to be back leading this team. New customers are drawn to the styling and value of our new cars, and we have a terrific opportunity to increase dealer engagement and sales.”
Scion says Gilleland will oversee the brand's business efforts, including the expansion of the Pure Process Plus sales process. Currently, per Scion, about 60 dealerships participate with a goal of 200 over the next few years.
Before returning to Scion, Gilleland worked Toyota’s field sales organization in Chicago and Cincinnati. He also worked in the Lexus Southern Area office in Atlanta. Most recently he was the general manager of Central Atlantic Toyota regional office.
Gilleland replaces Doug Murtha, who will lead corporate strategy and planning for Toyota in North America, per the company.