By on August 3, 2021

 

Toyota

Most industry watchers are well aware of the rapidly shrinking demand for four-door sedans, with consumers seeming to have permanently gravitated to SUVs and crossovers as their choice for daily commutes. We’ve watched as the Fusion and Taurus vanished from our shores, along with the likes of Impala, RLX, and Continental.

Pour one out for the Toyota Avalon, as well.

According to a report first spotted in Automotive News, Toyota will cease production of the Avalon sedan once it wraps up the 2022 model year. The beans were spilled in a letter from the Big T to some of its suppliers, a message which apparently outlined Toyota’s plant in Kentucky will stop building the car but partners should still be prepared to provide parts and service to existing customers.

Through the first half of 2021, the company sold 10,328 Avalons, compared to 177,671 Camry sedans and 155,531 Corollas. If you’re wondering, they also sold 221,195 RAV4s in the same time period. In total during the first half of this year, the Avalon comprised 2.65% of car sales at Toyota or just under 1% of vehicle sales overall for the brand.

It’s not like the model hasn’t been around for a while. The nameplate first appeared in 1994 on what was then Japan’s answer to comfy Buick sedans and the like. Since then, the car has gone on to enjoy a total of five generations, receiving a myriad of comfort and tech upgrades along the way which surely delighted those on their way to the Golden Corral. Hybrid power has been available in the Avalon for the better part of a decade, the most recent of which produced only 215 horsepower but permitted the big sedan to earn a 44 mpg combined rating by the EPA.

Try squeezing that level of economy out of a crossover that provides the same level of passenger comfort as a leather-lined Avalon. We like big sedans around here (#PantherLove) but their demise is inevitable in today’s market.

With this departure and those of others, TTAC is taking wagers on the next big sedan to visit the gallows. Nissan Maxima, perhaps? Kia Stinger? We hope not the latter. Place your bets in the comments.

[Image: Toyota]

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57 Comments on “Toyota Cancels Avalon, Nation’s Shuffleboarders Weep...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I think the Lexus ES cannibalizes sales of the Avalon, so it makes sense to drop the Avalon. The buyers can move to the ES, plus they get the after-sale experience of Lexus, like having access to free service loaner cars instead of having to sit and wait in the service waiting area, or ride in a courtesy van.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      I had a new ES as a loaner and was pleasantly surprised how much they’ve improved that car.

    • 0 avatar
      Professional Lurker

      I don’t know the sales figures between the two, but my personal experience backs this up.

      I cross-shopped the Avalon and the ES (Hybrids) and ended up getting the ES mainly because for the features I wanted, the Limited trim on the Avalon is not all that far from the ES with the luxury package. If the price difference is small enough, I figured I might as well get the Lexus. The $1000 “market adjustment” the local Toyota dealer was pulling also soured me a bit.

      I’m pretty happy with my decision so far. I’m filling it up once a month and I’ve managed 47MPG from full to empty recently. That’s ridiculously good for a car this size.

      As to the “going to the Golden Corral” comments: know that I’m only 39.

      • 0 avatar
        Mackie

        Yeah I call BS on the Golden Corral comment. Compact crossovers are today’s vehicle of preference for oldsters. I’m looking at you, Kia Soul.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        @Professional Lurker

        Ironically, my mother-in-law (age 87 now) has gone the opposite direction. After owning a couple of Cadillacs (a ’94 RWD Brougham d’Elegance and then an ’01 FWD De Ville, both of which were piles), she bought a new ’05 ES330.
        That was later replaced by a CPO ’08 ES350, which she totaled three years ago (her fault). She replaced that with a CPO ’16 Camry XLE (totaled that six months later, again her fault), and finally another, basically identical CPO ’17 Camry XLE (same color combination). We also went with her to test drive a couple of Corolla XLEs, before she bought the first Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        The ES is a much better looking car as well.

        I think they made the Avalon so putrid looking on purpose so they could kill it.

    • 0 avatar

      “courtesy van”

      Courtesy vans are gone the way of dodo. Special thanks to Wuhan, China.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      My auto dealer no longer has a courtesy van. They hire Uber drivers and pay them to pick up and deliver their service customers.

  • avatar
    make_light

    Anytime I spied one of these in the wild, it actually caught my eye, maybe just because they’re big and rare. I donno, in some trims/colors the grille looked horrid, others I kind of liked it.

  • avatar
    DungBeetle62

    Especially when you price a CPO ES vs. a new Avalon. The wife’s on her 3rd and couldn’t be bothered to consider an Avalon.

    But the bigger question this raises is if the ES is next on the chopping block? Its sales are down as well, and now that there’s no longer an Avalon to share that version of the platform with…

    I’d always praised Lexus’s strategy of having the ES and IS at close price points but aimed at vastly different consumers, where other competitors would take one car and try to “sport it up” for one group and “soften it up” for another.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Rumor has it that the Stinger is not on Kia’s production schedule beyond 2022. However I’d also hesitate to call it a “big sedan” considering that it is a hatchback and at 189 inches it is about as long as an ’86 Seville.

    If Toyota couldn’t make it work with all of the parts sharing between the Camry and ES then the full size nonpremium sedan segment is completely toast. The LX sedans are done with the 2024MY and Nissan is just running out the clock on the Maxima.

    It does seem right now like the Charger name is going to exist in the future but I have major doubts it will be attached to a full size sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Have to say this: “Charger” seems about perfect for an electric sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …It does seem right now like the Charger name is going to exist in the future but I have major doubts it will be attached to a full size sedan…

      Agreed. The LX platform can’t continue to soldier on no matter how much stomping of the feet and wailing the MOPAR faithful will make.

      The full size premium sedan is dead and the full size sedan continues to fade. You’re basically left with the Chrysler 300 with the Avalon being taken to the woodshed.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, now we know why they tried the gonzo TRD version. Pour one out.

    Next to the gallows? My money’s on the Maxima, but then again, with car rentals becoming more popular, they might pump it out for a while longer. I wouldn’t call the Stinger a “large sedan” per se, but I can’t see where it fits in with the Kia brand, and I think it just steals sales from Genesis anyway.

    The Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger will end up with the last big sedans on the market.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    It has been said that the Avalon was a Japanese Buick. Since Buick has stopped making sedans, I guess the Avalon had to stop production as well to live up to its moniker.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “big sedan to visit the gallows. Nissan Maxima, perhaps? Kia Stinger?”

    Kia Stinger is pretty small. K9, may be…

  • avatar
    Undead Zed

    I’ve always wondered who exactly the Avalon was made for. The man who thinks he’s too good for a Camry but not good enough for a Lexus?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’m not sure about “too good for a Camry” but there used to be a nontrivial demographic that didn’t like the outward appearance of driving around in a “luxury” car.

      Now those people are either dead or driving trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Exactly. The ride of choice for 50 something engineers who’ve worked their way up to director and have a lot of money in their 401k.

      In reviewing the E-Class wagon DeMuro said, “No one stretches to buy an E-Class wagon. They might stretch to buy a GLS or a g-wagen but never for an E-Class wagon. I think the same could be said of the Avalon. No one ever stretched to buy an Avalon.

      It would make a fun post, “Cars no one has ever stretched to buy.” Avalon, E-Wagon, Land Cruiser…. any others?

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      the Avalon is larger inside, larger than the ES – but both are classified as midsize for interior space

      the Accord is classified as a large car for interior size

    • 0 avatar
      downunder

      In Australia, the Camry was a 4, the Avalon was a 6, originally then the V6 was available across all Camry’s and the Avalon became a trim level. Perhaps to take over the Toyota Crown’s position.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    And when they came for the Avalon, I said nothing because, meh, it’s an old person car and I’m not really interested in it.

    Certainly nothing bad will ever happen to the cars I AM interested in, like the Lexus IS, Nissan 400Z, or Dodge Challenger.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Hardly a loss as it was just primarily a longer fancier Camry. Still it’s sad to see the so called full sized sedans being eliminated.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Huh, I thought they had moved the Avalon onto the same platform as the ES and RX. But I just checked and the ES, RX, Avalon and Camry are all on the same platform.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I wonder if the next Camry will fill the size gap between the current one and the Avalon? Might as well! They’ll make bank, along with Honda and HyundKia!

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Isn’t the Kia Stinger already on the death list?

    https://www.motor1.com/news/520800/kia-stinger-production-end-2022/

    Regardless, the best case scenario is for the large mid-market sedan market to stabilize at some point like the minivan market, perhaps when its down to the last 2-3 players. My money’s on the 300/Charger, which are old cash cows that may be the last vehicles standing in this market as long as Stellantis modestly invests in them or doesn’t decide to pull a Ford and go all in on CUV/Trucks.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    We own a Buick Lacrosse and a fullsize pick up. Wife dailys a Subbie to work for road warrior duty in Seattle (lots of parking lot rash).

    We love the sedan for trips. LOVE IT. Quiet, comfortable, not wallowing, don’t exit it feeling beat up. The 2017 is faster than a Maxima, I’ve got the adjustable dampers. On paper it’s about as fast to 60 as the Pontiac G8 GT was (the G8 was under-rated by GM).

    BUT

    It can’t do things that the aging Avalanche can. And the aging Avalanche is comfortable, driveable for what it is, and has vastly more utility. For example, we have a pretty standard sized Coleman cooler – it won’t fit in the trunk opening of the Buick. Epic fail. But this is a common problem in modern sedans.

    If I had to get rid of one of the motor pool right now – it’s no question – the Lacrosse is gone. The Avalanche (or any other large SUV/pickup) offers everything the Lacrosse can do – mostly. Worse MPG and wallows in turns and won’t brake as well (one thing GM finally got right, the Lacrosse is magnificently braked out of the box) but I can write that off. Now that COVID restrictions are gone traffic sucks again.

    I bought it in the first place because the final generation is very underrated and it was stupid cheap for what I got. I’ve never in my life been one to chase brands or try to gain clout by the badge on my cars.

    I sure do appreciate Porsche, MB, etc – owned a 944S2 once upon a time – but the badge tax is a big barrier.

    Boomers are moving on to their coffin cars, SUVs are easier to get in and out of, older Gen-X who still like big sedans like me are fading away.

    Long post – this class is dead – the end.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “and has vastly more utility.”

      Full size trucks are so big though. Compared to the Lacrosse your Avalanche is, what 2 feet longer and 7 inches wider? There are mid-size and compact trucks but those seem to sacrifice either utility or passenger volume.

      I think the lift back body on the Stinger is great for utility but the car itself is too sported up and too pricey for the masses. Although if you make something like a K5 lift back you get the vehicle linked below and it didn’t sell well decades ago either:

      youtu.be/lTwl5s_cMGk

      In the end it seems like only me and a few other internet weirdos really have an issue with the dimensions on a crew cab half-ton.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I will say, a miss for GM was not making the Lacrosse a liftback. I get it – NVH and interior sound levels. It would have dramatically increased the utility. Unfortunately for US buyers, it would have sold in even lower volumes because US buyers hate hatches now.

        If buying lightly used German wasn’t signing up for suffering and woe, an A7 would have been a strong candidate for me. They depreciate like a rock.

  • avatar
    Tirpitz

    Avalons will be great cheap cars as they age out to the 10-15 year point. People will forget they existed when searching and those that remember can find bargains when grandma has to give up the keys.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I love full sized sedans, but the latest Avalon is UGLY.

    I’m not a fan of modern styling, so I’m still rolling in my 2002 Grand Marquis I’ve been driving for the last 16+ years. I’ve saved a ton of money keeping the same car as a daily driver for that long.

    If you want a bench seat, you have to go with a full size SUV now, another reason to not buy a sedan anymore.

  • avatar
    Mackie

    Might as well kill it before it gets eaten alive by that grille.

    I’d be surprised if the Maxima makes it to another generation. But I’d rather see the Altima axed and the Maxima transformed into an electrified Model S fighter and true 4DSC. Maxima is a more storied nameplate than the mediocre Altima—which will forever live in the shadows of the Accord and Camry.

  • avatar

    Lexus sold about 51K ES in 2019 and Toyota sold about 27K Avalons the same year. So Avalon’s death does not mean death sentence for ES.

  • avatar
    Panther Platform

    I have a 2003 Grand Marquis LSE and am not a fan of modern styling either. Mercury parts are getting expensive, but I can live with that.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    The world is going to hell in a handcart. I was looking forward to getting an Avalon to celebrate my upcoming retirement and descent into geezerhood. Well, truth be told, my car-buying budget is more along the lines of celebrating retirement by buying a Corolla LE.

    Hey you darned kids. Get off of my lawn!

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Toyota has sold 22,792 copies of the ES in the first 6 months of 2021 (27,461 through Jul). Assume any Avalon intenders are either going to look at the ES (or a Highlander/RX) and you can see why Toyota would take this step.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I do wonder if its at the end of its product cycle, because if its not it makes me think something else is up (perhaps Toyota needs the capacity for something else?).

  • avatar
    Bobby O

    The Stinger is too good looking of a car to stop production, it needs to go electric and introduce a 0 to 60 in 3-3.25 sec Stinger for under 60K.

  • avatar
    ABC-2000

    Back in 2014, I did a west coast trip of around 2500k miles in a brand new rental Avalon, at that time, my own car was an Accord, I just loved it, so smooth and powerful.
    After all sedans that we lost, I wonder when is the Sonata going away?

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