Next to Go: Toyota Venza, Honda Crosstour, or Ford Edge?

2013-toyota-venza

Yesterday came the surprising news that the Volkswagen Beetle could be axed in favor of something new.

Less surprising is the recent announcement that the Toyota Venza will go extinct within a couple of months.

The Venza, which I like to call a cross between a Camry and an AMC Eagle, was supposed to be a huge hit. It was supposed to drive off dealer lots in droves and be exactly what Americans wanted; a large 4-door, cavernous cross between a wagon and a sedan.

It turns out Americans would rather just have the sedan.

Could the Venza’s exit be a precursor of what to expect from Ford and Honda?

It’s not uncommon for Toyota to sell 40,000 Camrys in a single month, yet the Venza only sold about 30,000 copies in all of 2014.

The Venza’s biggest competitor is the even slower-selling Honda Crosstour, which moved fewer than 12,000 copies last year. So why is the Crosstour hanging onto life while the Venza is being shown the door?

Because Honda is stubborn.

Toyota can realize and accept its mistake while Honda prefers to put more time and effort trying to right the sinking ship. The same thing happened with the Ridgeline for a couple of years before production finally wound down last year.

All marketing efforts for the Crosstour are pretty much over, yet there are rumors that a new version of the car is coming soon. I’d count on Honda giving it one more try, then pulling the plug if it can’t make things work.

Ford, on the other hand, has it figured out. The Edge isn’t exactly like the Venza and Crosstour because it’s more SUV than wagon. It is, however, based on the same platform as a sedan. Somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 people take home a new Edge every month, so clearly the idea of buying an SUV is much more palatable to most Americans than the thought of bringing a wagon home.

Which would you buy: Edge, Venza, or Crosstour?

-tgriffith

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1 Comment

  1. I just don’t get why carmakers struggle with this. It’s pretty easy:

    – Compare the Venza’s MSRP and fuel economy to those of the Camry Sedan.
    – Compare the Crosstour’s MSRP and fuel economy to those of the Accord sedan.

    Both the Crosstour and Venza significantly overshot their sedan counterparts in price. (Remember, when the Crosstour launched, it was V6-only and cost nearly $30k – almost $7k more than a base Accord)

    Even the 4cyl FWD Venza gives up 9MPG on the highway to the 4cyl Camry. That’s absurd.

    The initial price and up to 26% greater fuel cost made for a significant hurdle if all people wanted was a liftback instead of a trunk.

    Frankly, the Venza and Crosstour shouldn’t even exist. There are dozens of SUVs and crossovers already on the market for those who insist on AWD and a raised ride height.

    Why can’t we simply get a wagon version of the sedan? I mean a long roof/tailgate version of an otherwise untouched car. Don’t jack up the suspension, don’t screw with the trim levels / feature packages, and keep the MSRP within $1k of the otherwise identical sedan.

    I have to imagine if that was the case, they’d sell more plain ol’ Accord wagons and Camry wagons they they did Crosstours and Venzas.

    But I suppose carbuyers will eventually buy *something* to drive, so as long as there’s another Crossover or SUV option within the respective brand that they’ll settle with, Honda and Toyota have no incentive to make a normal wagon.

    The day Honda sells a ~$25k FWD normal-height Accord Wagon is the day I buy one.

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