The European unit of Toyota Motor Corp. is not planning to offer a hybrid version of the Toyota Avensis, placing doubt on the prospect of the mid-sized car. While the unit has plans to offer hybrid versions of every model sold in the Europe by 2020, the Avensis was left out, Toyota’s regional boss Didier Leroy told Automotive News Europe.
He clarified that Toyota still plans to offer a hybrid model in the mid-sized segment in the in the next five to seven years. He quipped that the carmaker will have to decide whether it has to develop a Europe-specific sedan and wagon like the Avensis or instead offer a more global product.
A possible decision to drop the Avensis comes as sales in the mid-sized segment in western Europe is seen to succumb to its lowest this decade. Sales in the segment could drop to below a half-million units this year from more than 800,000 in 2011, according to IHS Automotive, with customers flocking to luxury offerings or volume crossovers.
“It’s the law of diminishing returns for the mid-market brands in terms of this segment,” IHS principle analyst Tim Urquhart remarked. He noted that the two-year delayed launch of the Ford Mondeo in Europe shows how difficult the market is.
IHS expects sales of the Avensis to drop to 29,339 in 2014 from 55,706 in 2010. Urquhart expects Toyota to stop selling the Avensis in 2018.
Toyota just built 36,482 Avensis sedans and wagon at its Burnaston site in England in 2013, compared to almost 143,000 units of the Auris, including 62,148 hybrids. Another mid-sized car, the Toyota Camry, is already offered with gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.