The Next Toyota Avalon Is TNGA, Assuming the Next Avalon Is

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
the next toyota avalon is tnga assuming the next avalon em is em

Stiffer structures, a lower center of gravity for improved handling, more shared components, and a 20-percent cost cut are all benefits of the Toyota New Global Architecture. Eventually, Toyota wants all of its front-wheel-drive vehicles to use TNGA as a starting point.

You first witnessed TNGA in the 2016 Toyota Prius, then in the 2018 Toyota C-HR, and most recently in the 2018 Toyota Camry that’s trickling into dealers now.

But beyond the ability to improve existing nameplates and spawn dramatically different new cars, TNGA is also intended to improve plant efficiency. Yet a massive shift at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant, detailed by Wards Auto, hasn’t yet resulted in the efficiency rewards.

“When we change over in the future with the Avalon, we’ll be able to pull that efficiency out of (the operation),” Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky president Wil James told Wards.

Ah yes, Avalon. How could we forget?

Wards was told by plant officials that the fifth-generation Avalon will debut on Toyota New Global Architecture “next year,” and it would be followed by a new Lexus ES “soon afterward.”

Yet when we asked Toyota HQ to confirm that the next-generation Toyota Avalon will be assembled in Georgetown on TNGA in 2018, Toyota basically went silent.

“We do not discuss future products,” a Toyota spokesperson told TTAC.

To be fair, that’s not surprising. Automakers are reluctant to describe their products in detail well in advance. Not only would Toyota prefer to control the Avalon message itself, but Toyota also doesn’t want to give competitors an unnecessary information advantage.

But wasn’t the cat already out of the bag? After all, the fourth-gen Avalon will enter its sixth model year in 2018, so it wasn’t surprising to hear Toyota’s Kentucky boss essentially announce the fifth-gen Avalon’s timing.

If we could think of one reason for Toyota to avoid outright confirmation of a next-generation Avalon, however, the utter collapse of the current Avalon and its full-size sedan segment would be it.

After losing 8 percent of its sales in 2014, dropping another 12 percent in 2015, and sliding a further 8 percent in 2016, America’s large car segment is down 18 percent through the first-half of 2017.

Hyundai has already announced the discontinuation of its Azera, a direct Avalon alternative. The Ford Taurus’s future is not on solid ground.

As for the Avalon specifically, sales are down 28 percent this year, but that’s only its most recent downfall. After declines in 2014, 2015, and 2016, sales this year are on track to be less than half as strong as in 2017 as they were in 2013; 64 percent lower than in 2005.

This is no mere Avalon trend. The Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, and Nissan Maxima have suffered precipitous declines over the last two or three generations, as well.

Is this an environment in which an automaker would want to bring a new large car into the world?

[Image: Toyota Motor Corporation]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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3 of 34 comments
  • George B George B on Jul 12, 2017

    Toyota will be building a large sedan in Georgetown, KY. The only uncertainty is if they build both the Toyota Avalon and the Lexus ES or if they only build the Lexus ES.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jul 12, 2017

      As I just stated in the Camry article's comments, if they chop the Avalon from the lineup, hopefully they'll expand the Camry feature matrix to include features like seat memory, remote-start, and other stuff common on upper trims of other vehicles in the midsize category, especially with the huge premium they want for V6 models. I have a feeling that the new Accord being revealed on Friday will still have the feature advantage despite the loss of the V6.

  • Raph Raph on Jul 12, 2017

    Damn, talk about a face that would make a freight train take a dirt road!

  • MaintenanceCosts This is now our fourth 20th Anniversary GTI, and the third of those four that had major structural modifications for purely aesthetic reasons. I didn't picture Tim as the type to want to join the STANCE YO crowd, but here we are?
  • JMII This is why I don't watch NASCAR, it just a crash fest. Normally due the nature of open-wheel cars you don't see such risky behavior during Indy car events. You can't trade paint and bump draft with an Indy car. I thought it was a sad ending for a 500. While everyone wants a green flag finish at some point (3 laps? 5 laps?) red flagging it is just tempting people too much like a reset button in a game.The overall problem is the 500 is not a "normal" race. Many one-off competitors enter it and for almost every driver they are willing to throw away the entire season championship just to win the "500". It sure pays way more then winning the championship. This would be like making a regular season NFL game worth more then the Super Bowl. This encourages risky behavior.I am not sure what the fix is, but Indy's restart procedures have been a mess for years. If I was in charge the rule would be pit speed limiter until the green flag drops at a certain place on the track - like NASCARs restart "zone". Currently the leader can pace the field however they wish and accelerate whenever they choose. This leads to multiple false and jumped starts with no penalty for the behavior. Officals rarely wave off such restarts, but that did happened once on Sunday so they tried to make driver behave. The situation almost didn't happen as there were two strategies in the end with some conserving fuel and running old tires, driving slower with others racing ahead. However the last caution put everyone on even terms so nobody had advantage. It always gets crazy in the last few laps but bunching up the field with a yellow or red flag is just asking for trouble.
  • Tim Healey Lol it's simply that VWVortex is fertile ground for interesting used cars!
  • Jalop1991 I say, install gun racks.Let the games begin!
  • EBFlex For those keeping track, Ford is up to 24 recalls this year and is still leading the industry. But hey, they just build some Super Dutys that are error free. Ford even sent out a self congratulatory press release saying they built Super Duty’s with zero defects. What an accomplishment!