After six years on the market, the Toyota Venza crossover will disappear after the 2015 model year. Production of the Camry-based Venza for the U.S. market will end at Toyota’s Kentucky manufacturing plant by June 2015, although production of the car for sale in export markets will continue through 2017.
In a statement, Toyota cites three factors that contributed to this decision: “customer preference, competitiveness within the segment, and deteriorating sales.” If you read between the lines, this essentially means that the Venza never developed enough market share in its segment to warrant a redesign. Toyota sold only 29,991 Venzas in 2014, down from the Venza’s highest-selling year of 2009, when it sold 54,410 units. Competitors like the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge have gone through multiple rounds of updates during the Venza’s relatively long life cycle, and sales of those models are significantly higher, with the Edge selling 108,864 units and the Murano moving 47,301 units in 2014.
The compact Toyota RAV4 and three-row Toyota Highlander crossovers have also been gaining ground lately, likely stealing away some sales from the Venza. Toyota has increased production of the RAV4 in Canada and the Highlander in Indiana to cope with this increased demand.
No jobs will be lost at the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky as a result of this change, as the company plans to add the Lexus ES sedan to the line later this year as part of a $360 million expansion of the facility. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) also makes the Toyota Camry and Toyota Avalon sedans.
Remaining 2015 Toyota Venza inventory will still be sold for the rest of the year as production winds down. The Venza starts at $29,890 with destination and is available with either a 2.7-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V-6, both of which can be optioned with all-wheel drive.