Sales in the once-strong volume mid-sized sector are poised to fall this year to their lowest level this decade as pressure from premium alternatives mounts.
Volume automakers are forecast to sell less than 500,000 mid-sized vehicles in western Europe this year, down from more than 800,000 in 2011, according to analysts at IHS Automotive.
The steady decline has forced Toyota to re-think its plans for the segment. "It's very tough to be in the mid-sized segment in Europe," Toyota Europe CEO Didier Leroy told Automotive News Europe.
When asked about the future of the poor-selling UK-built Avensis, whose European sales were down 28 percent through April, Leroy said there could be changes coming for the automaker's mid-sized model line. "The question is whether we should develop a specific car for Europe or shall we use a much more global product?" Leroy said.