Back in 2008, Toyota entered into a venture with its newest model, the Venza.
Based upon the XV40 Camry, the Venza blurred the line between wagons and crossovers. So much so that Motor Trend, when asked to judge the Venza for Car of the Year instead of SUV of the Year in 2009 (as Toyota opted not to submit it for the latter), opted to skip it altogether, as its ride height was too high for qualification in the pub’s COTY contest.
Alas, the Venza also debuted months before the collapse of the automotive industry, followed by the collapses of Wall Street and Main Street. Thus, whatever wind this new venture had hoped would push the model’s sails (sales?) wound up a light breeze. Toyota hoped to sell 75,000 to 100,000 annually; however, its best year was its first full year of sales in 2009, with 54,410 units in the U.S., 12,375 in Canada.
By 2015, the first-gen Venza left the North American market entirely, though copies continued to leave Georgetown, Kentucky for export markets until 2017. Changing consumer tastes, tough competition, and falling sales (sails?) led to its end.
Now, in 2021, an all-new second-gen Venza arrives from Japan, placing itself between the RAV4 and Highlander. Time will tell if things play out differently.
For now, though, let’s see how it fared in my Old Dominion home.