In 1999, Toyota launched Project Genesis, an effort to bring younger buyers to the Toyota marque in the United States. This project aimed to create a "marque within a marque" in sales and advertising strategy for compact and coupe models sold by Toyota. The effort, which included the introduction of the Toyota Echo economy car, along with late generation Toyota MR-2 and Toyota Celica models, was judged unsuccessful and cancelled in 2001. In response, Toyota chose to launch a separate marque, an effort called Project Exodus. This project became known as Scion.
Scion was first introduced in March 2002, at the New York Auto Show. There were just two concept vehicles, the bbX (which was to become the xB), and the ccX, which was to become the tC. The 2004 xA and xB were unveiled at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show on January 2, 2003. They were available only in 105 Toyota dealerships in California at their initial launch on June 6, 2003. The subsequent rollout of the brand to the South, the Southeast, and the East Coast occurred in February 2004. Scion vehicles were available nationwide in June 2004, coinciding with the release of the 2005 tC. On December 16, 2006, Scion unveiled the next-generation xB, based on the t2B concept, and the new xD, successor of the xA, at an invitation-only, no-camera event in Miami. Both cars were then publicly unveiled on February 8, 2007 at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show.
Scion stems from Toyota's well publicized use of "Value Innovation", a series of articles in Harvard Business Review later encapsulated in the book Blue Ocean Strategy. Key factors of Toyota's strategy canvas were never published but include "Price," "Factor Options," "Performance driving metrics," "Confidence in buying," "21st Century Radio."
Toyota Canada Inc. announced that the Scion brand will be available in September of 2010 at 45 selected dealers starting in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, followed by other cities. Launch models include tC, xD, xB. The Toyota IQ shown in Tokyo will come to Canada as a Scion model in 2011 as a 2012 model. The first new Scions were shown in Canada at the 2009 Montreal International Auto Show.