It's taken a couple of years, but Winnipeg is about to get its first Scion dealership.
Ashok Dilawri, the head of the Dilawri Group, owner of Sunshine Toyota -- soon to be rebranded Crown Toyota Scion -- hopes that Winnipeggers will feel it was worth the wait.
The much-heralded Toyota-owned brand has been making a splash in the marketplace since it was launched in the United States early in the last decade. (It didn't come to Canada until 2010.)
"We're very excited about the Scion," Dilawri said. "The brand is having real good tracking in 2012 and we're looking forward to selling a lot of cars."
The Dilawri Group has the exclusive rights for Scion in Manitoba. Dilawri also owns Crown Acura, Crown Nissan, Crown Mazda, Sunshine Toyota and Crown Honda and Winnipeg Honda as well as a used car dealership and a collision repair shop.
There are only five models in the Scion lineup, but the sporty design and high-performance metrics have been capturing plenty of industry attention.
Just this week, the sporty Scion FR-S won the Best of 2013 award from Cars.com, an online review and consumer information website.
In December, the same model was recognized by AutoGuide.com as its "car of the year" and has also been named a "top pick" by autos.ca .
"We're excited by this expansion and look forward to welcoming more owners to the brand," said Sandy Di Felice, Scion Canada's director of external affairs.
To make way for its new brand -- and to meet the exacting standards of Scion -- Dilawri has put up a new building in the Waverley Auto Mall so that its existing Toyota store can relocate and accommodate the Scion showroom.
The new Crown Toyota Scion dealership will be housed in a 39,700-square-foot facility, more than twice the size of the existing Sunshine Toyota.
The plan is to have the new shop open before the end of February.
Dilawri said it will be a state-of-the- art affair, from geothermal heating to a 10-car service area that has the look of a showroom rather than an industrial setting.
The Scion has a very specific youthful target market and the brand undertakes a focused marketing effort in that regard.
"The median age of a Scion buyer is 39," Dilawri said. "This is a real generation-Y product. The demographics is very, very young."
And with modest pricing -- including the two-seater iQ, a premium micro subcompact that starts at $16,760 -- the brand pitches to young people who may be buying their first car.
"It suits the lifestyle (of the gen-Y crowd)," Dilawri said. "The way they look... everybody wants to be unique. It can give them the opportunity to reflect their lifestyle."
And that target marketing is thoroughly integrated. Scion and Toyota people will come into Winnipeg to dress up the showroom and the car displays and the dealership will have specially trained staff.
Scion also avoids the traditional auto-industry advertising tropes and prefers viral marketing and online ads.
"We'll integrate with Scion's marketing and take it to the next level," Dilawri said.
He hopes to be able to sell 250 of the cars in its first year on the market in Manitoba.
Scion by the numbers
Units sold in 2012, up 22.5 per cent over 2011, a new record for the Scion brand, which came to Canada a little over two years ago
Number of Scion dealerships in Canada
Models available: the xB (from $18,300), the FR-S (from $25,900), the iQ (from $16,700), the tC (from $21,130) and the xD (from $17,280)