It’s a big decision for a vehicle manufacturer to call time on a longstanding model in its range, so Toyota’s decision to end production of its British-built Avensis could have repercussions for other midsize sedan cars in Europe.
Both in Europe and across the Atlantic in America, sedan cars from many brands are struggling to remain relevant in the face of the unrelenting sales onslaught from crossovers and SUVs. In North America the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 have already bitten the dust, and the likes of the Ford Fusion could be next in the firing line. The Fusion’s European equivalent, the Ford Mondeo, is already experiencing dwindling demand, and it’s a similar case with the likes of Vauxhall and Opel’s Insignia.
In the UK where the Toyota Avensis is built, sales fell last year to just 3 473 units, which is a drop of 1 660 sales on the previous year. Across Europe, a mere 25 319 units of the Avensis were snapped up by consumers in 2017, which is only around half the number of Mondeo models Ford managed to sell in the same period. The UK’s Autocar publication cites a source saying that disparity between Avensis and Mondeo sales across Europe is what has encouraged Toyota to say goodbye to the Avensis sedan and Avensis Touring Sport models.
Toyota Europe boss Johan van Zyl quite recently told Autocar that the company was “not decided yet” what the future would hold for the Avensis, and a Toyota Europe spokesman has confirmed “we are monitoring the D-segment as it declines and suffers from heavy discounting.” Those comments suggest that as well as the Avensis being taken out of production, there’s unlikely to be any sort of direct replacement for the midsize sedan and estate wagon.
It has been suggested the gap could be filled by a sedan version of the Auris, which makes sense because just such a model is already sold in North America under the Corolla name. However, that more compact segment is also under threat due to falling sales which is why the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 are now no more.
The Japanese auto giant is being particularly ruthless in culling slow-selling models at the moment, with diesel versions of the RAV4 and Auris already getting the chop recently. In fact, Toyota has announced that all diesel models will be dropped from its portfolio by the end of this year as it continues to invest in hybrid and electric technology. – AFP Relaxnews