Maybe not what Toyota expected, the Scion xB proved to be a great family car. (As our younger daughter and a Christmas tree demonstrate.)

Maybe not what Toyota expected, the Scion xB proved to be a great family car. (As our younger daughter and a Christmas tree demonstrate.)

As you may already have heard, Toyota is ending its years-long experiment with the Scion brand. The cars remaining under that mark will be relabeled as Toyotas. And so ends the carmaker’s venture into a “youth brand.”

If that sounds like a Change of Venue Friday blog post that is pretty far afield from the legal, I agree. But I take the shuttering of Scion very personally, as my daily driver is a Scion xB. And I worry: Did I have something to do with the brand’s elimination? I mean, can the essence of a brand survive its users?

Let me explain.

Back in 2005, when our family bought the new car, we were impressed by its interior space and, yes, even its quirky look. Despite the critiques from armchair-engineer friends who noted the poor wind-resistance likely created by the car’s slab-faced visage, we were charmed by the appearance—and the car’s lightness and resulting quick response, especially with the manual transmission, made driving it a pleasure.

And so it remains today. (Yes, we keep our cars for quite a long time. Sorry to the durable-goods economy that relies on more frequent purchases.)

(Here is a slideshow detailing Scion through the years, and what I think have been some missteps as it sought to make the car more mainstream.)

Our Scion xB and I even survived a freeway-speed tire blowout. The solid little cube never swerved out of its lane.

Our Scion xB and I even survived a freeway-speed tire blowout. The solid little cube never swerved out of its lane.

But there were a few red flags that we were interlopers into a brand that was aimed at another demographic.

First, the base price was super-reasonable, but the amenities you could add on were pricy—and of no interest to us.

Gel lights to create a nighttime glow beneath your car? Um, no. Glowing rings to surround your cupholders and lend a club-vibe to your Ecstacy-filled experience? Thank you no thank you. Remove the rear seats entirely to fit in a couch-sized subwoofer? Nope.

We drove off the lot with a car that had no more than we needed—and that was probably more stripped down than the dealer had anticipated.

Meantime, we received even more reliable evidence that we were gatecrashers in Toyota’s rave/party line. A cousin of my wife is a longtime Toyota employee. Younger than us and working in California, even she opts to purchase from their Lexus line. Very grown up, you see.

So when she discovered we had bought an xB—and when she later saw us in it—she nearly wrinkled her nose at the cognitive dissonance. Her furrowed brow suggested that thousands of hours of focus-group focus were being squandered every time I slipped behind the wheel.

It’s true, she confirmed: That car was aimed at people decades younger (and probably cooler, though she didn’t say that part out loud).

All that came flooding back to me on February 3 when Toyota made its announcement. And I have to wonder if its finely wrought brand had been chipped away by drivers like me—outside the demographic but enamored of a speedy and peculiar car.

Scion is moving on. And I figure I’ve got 10 more years in ours. See you on the drift-track.

Have a fun—and boxy—weekend.

It's true: We passed on the Scion interior LED lights.

It’s true: We passed on the Scion interior LED lights.

The current issue of San Diego Lawyer asks attorneys how they view differences between the legal generations.

The current issue of San Diego Lawyer asks attorneys how they view differences between the legal generations.

Last week, I was happy to be in San Diego, where I was attending some legal-related meetings. And as you may know, when I travel, I like to see what local legal organizations have on offer in the area of publications.

So that took me to the pages of the San Diego County Bar Association’s San Diego Lawyer. And much to my pleasure, their current issue features a panel discussion related to differences between generations, perceived and real. As the panel of lawyers was asked, Are lawyers from different generations really all that different?

The whole issue opens here. (The Q&A begins on page 7 and jumps to page 24.)

Or you can click into the whole issue below.

 

 

That great feature article reminded me of a Q&A on a related topic we did back in 2008. Our September 2008 roundtable gathered the youngest and oldest Arizona lawyers in a room and asked them to talk about their challenges.

Attorney Tony Jones speaks at our 2008 roundtable that gathered Arizona's youngest and oldest lawyers.

Attorney Tony Jones speaks at our 2008 roundtable that gathered Arizona’s youngest and oldest lawyers.

I haven’t hosted a roundtable in a while. If I did plan one or more in the coming year, what topics would you like to see covered? In the past, I’ve covered, among others, topics like digital courts, solo lawyers, public lawyers, attorneys with disabilities, lawyer advertising, and lawyers in media/news.

The world’s your oyster! Let me know at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.