Toyota has been a busy beehive the past few years, and from the looks of it, they are not letting up. With the introduction of Prius getting AWD-e for 2019 along with Avalon and Camry, you can bet Toyota has something up their sleeve.
I think Toyota has been contemplating this move for quite some time. Here are my reasons why.
The Sedan Segment Is Dying
We need to assess the past decade of automotive trends. From my perspective, the small SUV market has been growing immensely. With people wanting a more versatile vehicle, companies such as Toyota have picked up on this. This could also be the reason for the TRD version of Avalon that Toyota recently released.
The Toyota Rav4 has been a crazy popular vehicle for many years. Now that all-wheel drive is offered in a hybrid version, and consumers love it even more. Some owners are now reporting 40+ miles per gallon with it and enjoying the four-wheel-drive/light off-road capabilities.
Sedans are not as popular as they were ten years ago. Camry, Avalon and even Prius are viewed more like a commuter car, and less like a family sedan. The thing is, Avalon, Camry, and Prius are a huge staple to the Toyota line up, which has caught the attention of the automaker. I am sure this is one of the reasons why Camry and Avalon are joining the AWD parade.
All-Wheel Drive Is More Versatile
There is no doubt about it; people love to feel secure on the road. People like the feeling that they can plow through the snow at ridiculous speeds even though it is unsafe. It amazes me how Subaru cars every year seem to sell for a premium right before the first snowfall.
With all-wheel drive cars being more desirable, Toyota has been able to key in on that fact. I am sure that the spike in Subaru sales every fall has also been a trigger to get Toyota thinking about where they could improve. I am sure that te Toyota has watched the all-wheel-drive segment now for quite sometime before planning such a bold move.
Now that they can offer three sedans with the option for all-wheel drive, those segments are now going to open for them in a way they have not in many years. Toyota will reach more potential Camry and Avalon owners that would have otherwise gone with another option. Smart move.
Best Selling Sedans Need To Stay Best Sellers
I touched on this briefly in the last segment. The Toyota Camry, Avalon, and Prius are all excellent sellers in their class. If Toyota wants to keep that market segment, they need to play ball. The Prius has dominated the hybrid market for quite some time, so why the move to AWD? Keeping the market share.
Toyota has enough information now to where they can make a factual decision on how to keep each of the three best selling sedans, best sellers. Toyota is not dumb when it comes to marketing. They know what they are doing, which is why Camry, Prius, and Avalon have done so well over the past 20+ years.
Toyota has made Prius a best selling hybrid sedan and has changed the world when it comes to hybrid technology. The move to make three of their best sedans now available with all-wheel drive is more than just a smart move. It is a genius move.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Please be sure to check out my other article, Three Reasons Prius Was No Show At Sema.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting