Toyota could let go of the Avensis model image

Looks like the long-running mid-size model could soon be doomed, as the European boss of the Japanese automaker hints there would be a new model coming to fight in the very competitive segment.

First off, the signals are as following – Toyota announced it has plans to offer hybrid versions of each and every model that is sold in the region by 2020. Then, Didier Leroy, the leader of the European division, has stated that the Avensis would not get the aforementioned hybrid version any time soon.

“Do we plan to introduce an Avensis hybrid? No,” said Leroy. “Do we have a plan to introduce in the next five to seven years a hybrid model in the mid-sized segment? The answer is clearly, yes. It’s very tough to be in the mid-sized segment in Europe,” he adds.

He also added that now the automaker is faced with an important decision – whether to go on as before – as the Avensis is Europe-only and manufactured in just one plant, in the UK, or change the strategy altogether and opt for a global mid-size design.

“It’s the law of diminishing returns for the mid-market brands in terms of this segment. The very fact that Ford has delayed the launch of the Mondeo by two years shows how difficult the market is,” adds Tim Urquhart, an analyst from IHS.

The mid-size segment has continuously shrinked, on the move to smaller dimension vehicles and the European slump in demand that has nearly lasted six years. IHS Automotive says that buyers also opt for premium models or choose more versatile crossovers, with the segment predicted to still fall – from 800,000 units in 2011, this year it would not pass the half a million mark.

Via Automotive News Europe