Introduced in 1997 as a replacement for the Carina, the Avensis has been one of Toyota’s most successful vehicles on the European market. Available in both sedan and wagon body styles, the third-gen Avensis was redesigned in 2009 and thoroughly updated in 2015, but the nameplate might not receive a fourth-generation model. That’s the word from Toyota Europe President and CEO Johan van Zyl, who says that the Avensis’ future is “under discussion” as sales of midsize vehicles continue to dwindle.
Van Zyl says that Toyota is still happy with how the nameplate’s sales figures in Europe, but points out that declining sales in its segment may spawn a significantly different replacement.
“We are looking at that segment of the market and asking ourselves some questions. We’re very satisfied with the performance of Avensis now – the product is doing fine for us. But we’re asking if the next step should be another D-segment saloon or something else,” said van Zyl, according to Auto Express.
Toyota’s decision comes after several companies have abandoned the family sedan market in order to focus on SUVs, which not only sell better, but also bring bigger profits. For instance, Citroen axed the C5 sedan from its range earlier this year. Also, the next-generation Opel (Vauxhall) Insignia may no longer offer a four-door sedan version, but only the five-door notchback and the wagon.
But no matter what Toyota decides to do, the Avensis will still be around for around 18 months, until the third-generation model ends its life cycle. Should the Japanese automaker decided to axe the nameplate, it would open up space for a new crossover since Toyota only has the CH-R and the RAV4 below the Land Cruiser in Europe.
Why it Matters?
The announcement may come as a surprise given that the Avensis isn’t doing bad sales-wise, but the automotive market is changing at a rapid pace and companies need to act fast and in advance in order to keep up with the competition. This is why Toyota is already discussing the Avensis’ future and drawing plans for a new strategy in Europe. To be honest, I’m not very excited at the prospect of getting a new crossover instead of a sedan and wagon, but this is how things go nowadays and probably more and more automakers will adopt similar strategies in the near future.