By on August 5, 2019

2019 Toyota Avalon front quarter

You’ve seen the type. The solo diner, eating while working through emails at the restaurant or FaceTiming with their kids while in the lobby of the Hampton Inn out by the interstate. The salespeople, making the wheels of commerce and commission turn with each mile glued to the windshield, travelling the highways in search of the next big sale.

These professional drivers don’t need a CDL, though many log enough miles in a year to rival some truckers. They need a comfortable, dependable steed that doesn’t warrant a second thought – it just does exactly what they need.

While many Willy Lomans have moved to midsized crossovers for their work vehicles, there is something comforting and familiar to a big sedan for slogging multiple hours on the highway. Had I had a choice back when I was out on the road for work, something like this 2019 Toyota Avalon would have been ideal. A trunk, hiding whatever samples I was carrying from prying eyes, is something you don’t get in some me-too crossover.

(Read More…)

By on May 2, 2018

2018 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT Front 3/4, Image: Lexus

Every large, traditional Toyota and Lexus sedan seems to have hit that point in its lifespan where drastic surgery is needed to keep up with the younger crowd. Were these staid sedans people, they’d be milling about in the seating area of a local plastic surgeon’s office.

The first model to bend to Toyota’s desire for large cars that ooze dignified luxury but are also kind of green (and maybe kind of sporty?) was the 2018 Lexus LS flagship, appearing last year with a new platform and racy sheetmetal. The Avalon and ES will soon follow suit.

By revamping its LS, Lexus hoped to jam the brakes on a sales plunge that began after the recession and only got worse from there. Still, the automaker knew it couldn’t turn back the clock completely. There was a very specific sales goal mentioned during the launch, and it looks like the new LS delivered. Almost perfectly, in fact. (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2018

2018 Toyota Camry XSE white - Image: Toyota

On Friday, I penned a minor rant about the state of the four-door sedan. Many of you read and commented, for which I offer my profuse thanks. It’s the readers who make this place, after all.

Many good reasons and theories were bandied about in the comments, leading me to believe the B&B has a bit more opinion than most on the future of this once-burgeoning segment. Still, we know four-door family sedans are slowly going the way of PalmPilots and Polaroids.

My question for today is this: what’s the next sedan, on sale today, you think will asked to leave stage right?

(Read More…)

By on September 20, 2017

2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 - Image: FCAIf you’ve got it, flaunt it. Go ahead and shake your money maker.

Or not.

After reports surfaced at Automotive News earlier this week that the 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Dodge Charger Hellcat, Dodge Challenger Hellcat, and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk would appear in a Chrysler 300 next year, Motor Authority has heard from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on the subject.

It’s not going to happen. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2017

2018 Buick LaCrosse - Image: BuickAs General Motors seeks to get the company’s U.S. inventory down to the industry average of 70 days’ supply by the end of 2017, once-prominent passenger cars are inhibiting the company from achieving its vital goal.

At Cadillac, where even the company’s three utility vehicles have far more than 70 days of stock, the brand’s four car nameplates have 137 days’ supply. At Chevrolet, where the brand’s somewhat excessive light truck inventory is largely due to an intentional increase in Silverado stock, there’s a 128-day supply of passenger cars. Granted, that figure is worsened by a stop-sale on Chevrolet Sparks that limited the city car to only 1,132 U.S. sales in the last three months and by a necessary Corvette stockpile in advance of a Bowling Green shutdown.

But it’s at Buick, where new and old designs alike are suffering from dramatically lower-than-anticipated demand, that GM’s inventory reduction methodology doesn’t seem to be taking hold. According to Automotive News, Buick dealers have enough LaCrosses in stock to last until the July 4th holiday next summer.

How did Buick develop such a LaCrosse glut, and is there a silver lining to this black inventory cloud? (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2017

2016 Toyota Avalon - Image: ToyotaU.S. sales of full-size, volume-brand sedans fell 17 percent in the first seven months of 2017, a sharp drop following noteworthy declines in each of the last three years. Despite the growth the market has seen since the auto industry’s collapse in 2009, big sedans have lost 37 percent of their U.S. sales volume over the last four years.

Compared with 2013, that’s 18,000 fewer sales for the segment every month. Even compared with 2016, that’s 6,500 fewer sales every month.

In what was historically a fleet-dependent corner of the passenger-car market, many automakers’ reduced emphasis on sales to daily rental companies plays a major role. Numerous players in the segment also attempted to move upmarket, further away from the midsize cars that now offer the requisite interior volume. It hasn’t turned out so well for some. Remember the Mitsubishi Diamante and Mercury Montego? We’ll soon forget the discontinued Hyundai Azera. The Ford Taurus is likely not long for this market, either.

Yet in a market that’s lost 17 percent of its sales this year, the Toyota Avalon has shed 28 percent of its year-to-date volume, a loss of 7,475 sales. With an all-new 2018 Camry set to generate more than its fair share of Toyota sedan sales, does the Avalon even deserve a place in Toyota’s 2018 lineup?

Indeed it does, as Toyota will launch the fifth-generation, TNGA-based Avalon in 2018. “We’re committed to Avalon,” says Toyota North America’s executive vice president for sales, Bob Carter. (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2017

2017 Hyundai Azera - Image: HyundaiIn a release yesterday detailing the company’s 2018 lineup, Hyundai confirmed that U.S. market availability of the Hyundai Azera will be discontinued.

But have no fear, dear lover of affordable large sedans. The 2017 Hyundai Azera is not yet thin on the ground.

Roughly 1,000 Azeras are currently sitting on dealer lots across the United States, enough — at the Azera’s recent sales pace — to last until mid-fall.

The Azera doesn’t deserve to meet such a tragic end, but its demise is one we knew about long before Hyundai’s official announcement on July 5, 2017. U.S. sales plunged 82 percent over the last decade. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Impala Midnight Edition - Image: Chevrolet

We knew General Motors’ strategy for the tenth-generation Chevrolet Impala would be different when the big sedan was launched in 2013. No longer intended to be the fleet queen and a hugely discounted showroom sedan, the tenth-gen Impala moved upmarket.

Consequently, sales decreased, and did so in dramatic fashion. The Impala’s U.S. volume in 2014 was down by more than half compared with 2007 output. Sales continued to fall, with the Impala’s 2016 calendar year result of 97,006 U.S. sales representing the sixth consecutive year of decline.

The Impala’s numbers are getting lower. Much lower. After averaging more than 8,000 monthly Impala sales in 2016 and nearly 10,000 per month as recently as 2015, Impala volume has cratered in early 2017. Only 3,213 Impalas were sold in the United States in April 2017, down 73 percent compared with the Impala’s April average over the last five years.

But don’t assume the scarcity of Impala sales will translate to an abundance of deals at your local Chevrolet dealer. Impalas are thin on the ground, and GM isn’t playing games with incentives. (Read More…)

By on June 3, 2010


Ah, segment analysis. Each automaker has its own product strategy, and none of them are designed to make apples-to-apples comparisons easy. So we’ve lumped large family sedans from automakers with a mass-market sedan positioned above their mainline D-segment sedan (Impala, Azera, Avalon, Taurus) in with entry-premium FWD cars like the ES350 and Buick LaCrosse. Since we’re comparing a nebulous segment anyway, we threw in the entire sales performances from entry-premium brands like Volvo, Saab and Acura. Not a perfect comparison in many ways (Impala would be better compared to the D-segment sedans below, for starters), but then we’re not charging you a damn consulting fee, are we?

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