Peugeot and Toyota are still willing to invest within Europe’s midsize saloon segment, which is why they’re readying two new models they hope will keep buyers from looking at SUVs.
Statistically though, things don’t look that great for the midsize segment, which is expected to decline to less than 400,000 annual sales by the year 2021, from just below 540,000 in 2017, according to LMC Automotive.To gain some perspective, imagine that in the mid-1990s, cars such as the VW Passat, Renault Laguna, Opel/Vauxhall Vectra and Ford Mondeo accounted for more than one in five sales in Europe, as reported by Automotive News.In the first five months of this year, the midsize saloon segment totaled just 3.2% of sales across Europe, according to JATO Dynamics, making it the continent’s No. 9 segment. Through May, the VW Passat remained on top with 74,791 units sold, more than double the numbers of the second place Skoda Superb. Third came the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia (up 49%), whereas Mondeo numbers sank 15% to 22,486 and the new VW Arteon claimed firth place with 10,066 units moved.Peugeot’s white knight for this segment is the all-new 508, which goes on sale this September. In order to stimulate buyers, the French automaker went with a more appealing design for their midsize saloon, making it look like more of a “fastback.”As for Toyota, they have committed to replacing the outgoing Avensis sedan and wagon with a hybrid version of the Camry, which will be imported from Japan. The Camry, set to go on sale in Europe next year, will be aimed at fleet customers looking for a low-CO2 family car.Whether these two models will succeed in Europe remains to be seen. It won’t be easy though, not with most buyers focusing their attention on crossovers/SUVs. Renault has already felt this effect, as their relatively new Talisman is still struggling to sell – sales are down 45% through May of this year.