Toyota wants the RAV4 to dominate compact crossover segment

Article by Anita Panait, on August 26, 2013

Executives at Toyota are aiming to make the Toyota RAV4 the best-selling nameplate in the compact crossover segment. Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales USA, told dealers at Toyota Division's national dealer meeting in Atlanta that he expects the carmaker to sell over 200,000 RAV4s this year, up from 171,877 units sold in 2012.

Despite this expected sales figure, the RAV4 will remain be behind segment leaders Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.  Toyota has sold 120,812 RAV4s in the first seven months of 2013, compared with 178,969 Escapes and 172,989 CR-Vs. Carter told Automotive News in a phone interview that he was referring to future aspirations when he told dealers that they are aiming for the RAV4 sales to hit 250,000 units.

He remarked that selling 250,000 RAVs is within the growth of compact crossover market, adding that the strength of Toyota’s offering “puts it within the realm of possibility." He also remarked that 250,000 is not achievable in 2014, primarily because Toyota is still securing additional production capacity.

Toyota can build up to 200,000 units of RAV4s annually at its Woodstock site in Ontario, excluding overtime outputs. However, the Ontario site is serving both Canada and Mexico, which means that Toyota is importing a good number of RAV4s from Japan. Toyota has imported 41,390 units from Japan for sale in the United States in the first seven months of 2013.

In designing the new RAV4, Toyota made sure to achieve the objectives that were initially set by brand President Akio Toyoda. That this new model has that athletic presence is due to the fenders, both the front and the rear, which have been aggressively sculpted and combined with the taillights and their bold proportions. Indeed, the design of the new RAV4 is able to result in strong proportions while being able to showcase a quality of fun and agility.

The exterior is dynamic while at the same time sophisticated. It comes with a character line that is truly aggressive, a roofline that is sleek and sloping, and a profile that is progressive. Meanwhile on the interior, it clearly has a premium appearance that is just as cutting-edge. The inside also has soft-touch accents with the controls being more focused on the driver.

One thing different from the new RAV4 is not unlike the models of the past, it now has a roof-hinged liftgate rather than being side-hinged. Aside from being more convenient, it allows for that space-saver spare tire to be kept below the cargo floor. For the Limited grade, a one-touch power liftgate in the rear is included as standard. This feature will also come with memory height settings that can be selected by the driver. However, similar to other Toyota models, engineers working on the RAV4 made sure to focus on the vehicle’s aerodynamics

. The most obvious of these would be the small vortex generators that have been sculpted to the taillight cases and positioned towards the base of this new model’s A-pillars. A feature that is not as obvious is the undertrays that are under the passenger cabin. This ensures that the airflow is smooth and can be controlled.

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