Here Are the Cars Toyota Might Kill Off
If you’ve been waiting to buy a Toyota 86, now’s probably a good time to make that purchaseby Kirby, on
Like every automaker that’s worth its salt, Toyota’s bottom line is the most important thing the company has to take care of. And, with the U.S. car market experiencing a shift in demand the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time, the Japanese automaker is in the process of reviewing its entire U.S. lineup with the possibility of dumping nameplates or models that have become sales anchors on the market. A final decision isn’t expected to happen soon, but with the U.S. auto market getting dominated by SUVs and pickup trucks, Toyota’s model lineup could experience a dramatic shake-up in the near future.
This isn’t an isolated incident. Toyota isn’t the only automaker that has had to rethink its product portfolio in the U.S. Ford, Hyundai, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have done the same. It’s the nature of business in general that these measures are being taken. If an item isn’t selling well as it used to, it’s better to simply replace it with a better item that can attract more buyers. That holds true everywhere, not just in the auto industry.
It’s certainly true for a company as big as Toyota, which has a huge imprint in the U.S. auto industry. "We are taking a hard look at all of the segments that we compete in to make sure we are competing in profitable segments and that products we sell have strategic value," Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz told Automotive News. That’s not to say that Toyota is getting desperate. It’s not.
The company is still one of the most profitable automakers in the North American market, including in the U.S. This is just a matter of cutting the dead weight.
Speaking of which, I’ve identified a handful of models that are in danger of getting shelved. I am beginning, though, with a list of its most popular models, deemed the “untouchables.” From there, the scene turns grim with models that could be shelved to models that will definitely be axed.
Sales of the Toyota Camry have come down in 2018 — sales so far this year have dropped to 289,801 units in the first ten months of the year compared to 308,759 sold units in the first ten months of 2017 — but as the figures show, the Camry is still the ultimate powerhouse in its segment. The model is one of Toyota’s sales anchors in the U.S., and it would be foolish on Toyota’s part to take out its sales workhorse in the market.
Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry
Toyota posted record sales of the RAV4 in 2017 when it moved 407,594 units for the entire year. Proving that the SUV market is as healthy as it’s ever been, the automaker is actually poised to break its own record this year if sales of the RAV4 continue to be as healthy as it’s been so far in 2018. In the first ten months of the year, 353,149 units of the SUV have found their way into the hands of owners, an increase from the 346,316 units that were sold in the U.S. in the first ten months of 2017. Just like the Camry, the RAV4 is one of Toyota’s best-selling models in the U.S. There’s no way it’s getting axed.
Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota RAV4
The pickup truck market has largely revolved around models like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and the Ram 1500. But 2018 has so far been a tremendous year for Toyota’s pickup lineup, particularly the Tacoma pickup.
Consider this: Toyota sold 198,124 units of the Tacoma in 2017. This year, it has sold 204,452 units of the pickup through October.
There are two sales months still unaccounted for, and Toyota has already blown past its 2017 sales record. Don’t look now, but the Tacoma is poised to break up the establishment at the top. Is that the kind of model Toyota’s looking ditch? Hell to the N-O.
Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Tacoma
Potentially on the Chopping Block
Compared to its total sales volume last year, the Toyota Avalon is actually doing little better in 2018 with sales up four percent — 28,817 sold units so far in 2018 compared to 27,703 sold units in all of 2017 — through the first ten months of the year. But I’m still putting the Avalon in this category because sales of large sedans in the U.S. are down 18 percent this year across the board. That doesn’t paint a flattering picture of the market’s future. Worse, Hyundai and Ford have ditched the segment altogether. Hyundai has said goodbye to the Azera sedan while Ford is shelving its entire sedan lineup, including the Fusion and the Taurus. It’s going to be interesting what Toyota’s decision is on the future of the Avalon. It could keep rolling out the sedan, or it could send it to the barn. Either of the two scenarios wouldn’t be shocking.
Read our full review on the Toyota Avalon
The Toyota Mirai is an interesting car. Toyota never intended it to be a sales hauler. The Mirai is, by all accounts, an exploratory model with a clear and defined sales ceiling. In fact, the Japanese automaker’s plans for the Mirai involves producing only 3,000 units per year, this year and next year included. But the Mirai still makes its way on this list, in large part because sales in the U.S. have been tepid, at best.
That’s especially true this year where sales of the fuel-cell model are down in the first ten months of the year — 1,293 models to 1,274 models — compared to the same time period in 2017.
Granted, the declining sales isn’t that big to cause a panic on Toyota’s part, but it’s clear that the Mirai’s novelty is wearing off now that the hybrid and all-electric car markets are expanding. Even more telling is the fact that November 2017 and December 2017 were the two best-selling months the Mirai has had since it entered the market in late 2015. Toyota needs huge sales movements in the last two months of 2018 to approach the Mirai’s sales volume from 2017.
Read our full review on the 2016 Toyota Mirai
At the moment, Toyota has three versions of the Prius in the U.S. market. There’s the base model Prius c, the Prius, and the Prius Prime Plug-In. It used to be four models, but the Prius v minivan has already been given the boot. Don’t look now, but the Prius c could follow out the door, even after it was on the receiving end of a mild facelift last year. Unfortunately for the Prius c, that refresh wasn’t enough to help the model get any sales traction after a putrid showing in 2017. In fact, the opposite has happened. Sales of the Prius c are down across the board in the first ten months of the year. To think that Toyota only sold 12,415 units in 2017, it’s gotten worse this year as the company has only moved 9,108 units in the first ten months of the year. If these trends hold up, Toyota’s going to be lucky if it breaks 11,000 sold units this year. And to think that as recently as 2015, Toyota sold a healthy 38,469 units of the Prius c in the U.S. My, oh my, how the mighty have fallen.
Read our full review on the 2015 Toyota Prius C
Had Good Runs, but it’s Time to Throw in the Towel
If I’m a betting man, I’m putting a lot of money on Toyota discontinuing the Yaris in the U.S. 10 years ago, Toyota sold 102,328 units of the Yaris in the U.S., a staggering number in it of itself. It’s been a steady decline since, but that decline approached critical mass in 2017 when Toyota moved only 8,653 units for the entire year. As bad as it got last year, 2018 has been a downright disaster.
Sales of the hatchback have dropped 38 percent this year with the two-door version slumping by an eye-popping 78 percent.
In the first ten months of 2018, Toyota has sold 1,702 units of the once mighty subcompact. Imagine that for a second. From over 102,000 sold units to barely 2,000 in a decade’s time. If the Yaris lives to see another year — especially with the Corolla hatchback returning — it’s going to be an outright shocking development.
Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota Yaris
This is a no-brainer, at least from a number of different standpoints. First, the Toyota 86 is old. It’s been around since 2013. Second, it hasn’t received the kind of major updated we’ve been waiting for all these years. Toyota did give it a tweak here and there a few years ago, but for the most part, the 86 has remained largely the same since its debut five years ago. Rebadging the Scion FR-S as the Toyota 86 hasn’t helped, either.
Third, the Toyota Supra is coming in 2019, and it’s unlikely that the Japanese automaker would want two sports coupes in the market at the same time.
If anything, the Supra’s arrival would render the 86 irrelevant. Fourth, sales of the 86 in the U.S. have cratered in the last few years. This year alone, Toyota has only moved 3,545 units of the sports coupe in the first ten months of the year. At the rate it’s going, the 86’s total sales volume will barely scratch 4,000 units. That’s a far cry from last year when it sold 6,846 units and an entire galaxy away from its peak in 2013 when 18,327 units were sold the whole year. If the Toyota 86 lives to see another year, someone over at Toyota needs to have a good explanation behind that decision. It’s had its run in the sun; now it’s time for the sports coupe to head off into the sunset for good.
Read our full review on the Toyota 86
Source: Automotive News