What’s next for Toyota following the fall of Avensis?

The recent announcement that the Toyota Avensis would be ceasing production came as a shock to fans of the Japanese automotive manufacturer worldwide.

Toyota’s sad decision came off the back of relatively “poor demand” in comparison to other models. It was a stark contrast from just 12 months ago when the automotive giant was prototyping a next generation Avensis for the European market. Said model was dubbed a “same size, but lower weight and more power” wagon, available as a station wagon and a sedan.

Where it all began

The first Toyota Avensis was produced in 1997 and has since spawned two subsequent generations. Production is limited to Europe only and has taken place in Toyota’s Burnaston plant in Derbyshire for the past 20 years. It was created to replace the Toyota Carina E and went on sale in early 1998.
Avensis is known as a “D segment” model, which refers to compact executive cars or mid-size vehicles, such as the Ford Mondeo or Honda Accord. Competing manufacturers have evidently fared better in the same size models of late.

Declining sales

Sales of the Avensis peaked in 2004 when Toyota sold 26,011 units. Unfortunately, in 2018, it is one of Toyota’s worst performing models, having reported sales of just 25,319 units in 2017 – half that of its direct competitor, the Ford Mondeo. In the UK alone, sales fell to 3,473 units in 2017, down by 1,660 units in 2016.

While the Ford Mondeo outsold the Avensis considerably this year, the lack in popularity is being pinned on all D segment vehicles, whose sales have been generally declining in recent years, in particular, the Vauxhall Insignia. A Toyota spokesperson said: “We are monitoring the D segment, as it declines and suffers from heavy discounting.” Meanwhile, rumours had been spreading in some circles that Toyota had been planning to cut the Avensis since late 2016, when it launched the latest update.

What’s next?

Those mourning the loss of the Toyota Avensis can still catch it on a long-term leasing deal, but rumour has it that production will now turn towards the relatively new Toyota Auris. In February this year, Toyota confirmed that their Derby-based factory would produce the next generation Auris, a model which has been in production since 2006.

The new generation model debuted at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show and received positive feedback thanks to its sportier look and the option of a 2 litre hybrid engine. Also available in the United States as a 2019 Corolla, the Auris is smaller than the Avensis and has been specifically designed with the needs of those looking for a Toyota sedan in mind.

Toyota is re-shuffling many of its products in a bid to outsmart its competitors, with the Avensis Tourer also predicted to get the chop soon. However, with exciting news of new Yaris models set to launch in the coming months, there’s no need to panic for Toyota just yet.