Re: Toyota kills the Scion brand
I can understand Toyota's partnership with Mazda. There was a confluence of circumstances leading to that move:
Toyota needed a newer, more competitive car in that segment ("Yaris! It's a car!" might be one of the accurate advertising slogans ever, and that's part of the problem). That platform hasn't changed a whole lot since they introduced the Echo in the US for the 2000 model year. Hatchbacks, a few more airbags, and new electronic gadgets are about it for the significant changes over 15+ years. It's a good, reliable car, but it's outdated. And it's outclassed in many ways by most of its competitors.
That kind of wholesale redesign is extremely costly, and vehicles in the Yaris/Vitz segment are not very profitable in most places in the world, including (maybe especially) North America. Since other platforms/models are more profitable (trucks, SUVs, CUVs, the entire Lexus lineup), it makes business sense for Toyota to outsource design and production of a less-profitable platform.
It leaves factory capacity for Toyota to focus on those more profitable vehicle lines, though to a lesser extent than FCA recently announced (they're outsourcing both the next Dart and the next 200). With the dollar relatively strong (and the yen therefore weak), that Japanese capacity means even more profit on profitable vehicles for one of the company's more profitable markets. Profit, profit, profit. It IS all about the Benjamins.
Since the split from Ford, there have been concerns about Mazda's viability as an ongoing independent concern. Looking at other Japanese makes, Subaru is a subsidiary of Fuji heavy industries, so they can weather difficult times; Mitsubishi is in a similar position as a smaller division of a huge multi-faceted corporation; Suzuki is fairly popular just about everywhere but North America, and they have other product lines; Honda has several product lines beyond cars; Nissan's already buddied up with Renault (but is probably big enough worldwide to go it alone should the Renault partnership sour); and Toyota is one of the two largest car manufacturers on the planet - their size protects them in a lot of ways. Analysts believe that Mazda will survive in the long-term only through partnerships with other auto makers, so it really makes sense for both companies.
It also helped that Mazda decided not to bring the 2 to the US, meaning they wouldn't be competing with their own product rebadged as a Toyota.
Plus, every review I've read has stated or suggested the iA's driving dynamics would still be considered "good" at a price point several thousand dollars higher than it currently is. It's kind of a shrewd move here - bring it in as a Scion for a couple of years where its sales numbers will be lower so you can test the market and get your dealers' techs up to speed on the details of the SkyActiv engine, then let it replace the current (aging) Yaris with great fanfare.
As far as keeping mine goes, I'll treat it like any other car - I bought it because my old ride didn't meet some new needs, and I'll keep it as long as it continues to meet those needs and any others that crop up in the meantime.
Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.