Friday, May 12, 2006

2007 Toyota Avensis...or just a restyling?

Recent news mention the presentation of the next generation of the European model Toyota Avensis for the end of May at Madrid Auto-show. Fist remark: the current Avensis started selling in Europe in 2003. That means a 4-year lifecycle for this model. It is not a good politic for a brand that pretends to raise its market-share in Europe to have lifecycles this short.

The referred news article presents some spy-shots of the “new Avensis”. Examining the pictures it seems that this disguised model is in fact the new Lexus ES. Compare the pictures below! Either the information is incorrect, or the new European Avensis will be very similar to this new Lexus ES. That would not be strange since the ES is a reworked version of the American Toyota Camry. Another remark: the new Lexus ES should not be branded as Lexus. It is not worthy of that because it uses technology largely inferior to other Lexus models. It is a front-wheel-drive saloon so it has no place in the luxury class. It will make good money for Toyota because the clueless people that will buy it are getting essentially a Camry with a chunky profit margin in favor of Toyota.

Looking closely at the ES one can not see how this car could have success in Europe. It’s too much of the three B’s: too boring, too bland and too big. It would have to be heavily reworked in the front design and also in the interior. Oh dear, the interior of the ES is horrid, European folks would run away from this thing! I have this theory about the Lexus ES: it is in fact an elaborate marketing scheme to make Lexus more appealing to a younger crowd. Fact is, the ES is so boring that next to it the rest of the Lexus range looks bold and cool. In reality the ES is a marketing plot to get more money from ignorant old people. The kind of people that used to buy rebadged Passats in the shape of FWD Audis can now get rebadged Camrys in the shape of this FWD Lexus ES. Now they are older but still clueless!

To conclude: maybe the news article is wrong. Maybe Toyota will just present a restyled version of the current Avensis. Remember the first remark? It's too soon for a completely new model. This is my bet. Or maybe Toyota will surprise us with a more European-friendly design. For sure we can expect more and better diesels, maybe an hybrid version and the usual quality and reliability. Let’s just hope Toyota doesn’t mess with the design. And if they get it wrong, who cares! Toyota gave us the RWD Lexus IS220d. That is the one that counts. Thank you!
Lexus ES

Spy-shot: Avensis?

ES interior

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