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Discounts, sports pack for Avalon
Toyota hopes to boost sales of its Avalon with discounted pricing and a new limited edition model
20 Apr 2001
By JUSTIN LACY
TOYOTA has released a limited edition version of its Avalon to help boost sluggish sales of the large sedan.
The Avalon CSX Sports Pack adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a black mesh grille and a rear spoiler to the standard CSX specification.
Pricing is lineball with the "cooking" CSX at $34,490, meaning the extra features are thrown in for free.
The extras are from T-CAM, Toyota's Conversions, Accessories and Motorsport division, as part of the Arista body enhancement package it designed for the Avalon when it was launched.
The release of the limited edition model comes at a time when Toyota has been forced to heavily discount the regular Avalon models.
The Avalon VXi - a higher grade than the CSX - is currently being retailed for $31,500 by some dealers in Melbourne, just $10 shy of $7000 off the recommended retail price and $2990 cheaper than its lesser-equipped sibling.
The top of the range Avalon Grande is being discounted by as much as $9000 to bring it under the magical $40,000 barrier, but at this stage these discounts only apply to 2000 compliance vehicles.
Toyota's media relations manager Mike Breen said there were no plans to continue discounting the Avalon once stocks of 2000-plated models have been sold.
Toyota had initially expected to move 24,000 examples of its big six in its first full year of sale - which equates to 2000 cars per month - split equally between private and business buyers.
The Avalon only achieved those figures in its first month but that was as a result of a bulk purchase by rental companies and Toyota's own fleet.
Since then sales have hovered around 1200 units per month, although falling as low as 793 in January.
With three months left in its first year, total Avalon sales have still not reached the halfway mark, sitting on 11,514 sales at the end of March.
"We are achieving the private sales but we are having a struggle with the fleet sales," Mr Breen said.
"I think our focus will probably move towards fleet to try and bolster sales in that area." Toyota had hoped to capture a 15 per cent stake in the large car segment but even the boom first month only managed 11.9 per cent.
Since then the segment share has fallen as low as 5.7 per cent in February this year, but is averaging 6.7 per cent to date from the July, 2000, launch.
The Avalon will receive a minor facelift in August/September with new wheel trims and detail changes, along with the introduction of satellite navigation.
A more significant upgrade is expected in the second half of 2002, before the arrival of an all-new model in 2004.
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