4-door saloon cars not going away, says Toyota PH's Atsuhiro Okamoto
Automakers just can't stop building crossovers, SUVs, MPVs, and pick-ups. If you look at market trends, more consumers are shifting to these larger, higher-riding vehicles and it's no exception here. Take a look at our roads and you'll see what we mean.
So where does this leave the traditional sedan? As more manufacturers shift towards high-riding vehicles, does this mean the four-door will be no more in the future? According to Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) president, Atsuhiro Okamoto, that's not the case at all. He even says that sedans “will always be one of the options”. Here's why, straight from the man himself.
“With the Philippines just starting motorization, first-time car buyers are expected to be significant drivers of automotive sales. For these new car buyers, many of them will be finally making one of their biggest investments and choose on what best fits the requirements not only for themselves, but with their family in mind”, said Okamoto.
He adds, “With this, we believe that the sedan, will still be the best overall choice as it has better overall comfort and safety, maintaining affordability, low running costs and high fuel efficiency. We firmly believe that sedan will remain as one of the most popular choices among new car buyers and will play a very vital role in the lives of Filipinos”.
Even as we see more crossovers, SUVs, and pick-ups these days, there's still a strong demand for sedans in the country. That's not just Okamoto's opinion either because he has the figures to back them up. “By the end of 2019, Passenger Car Sales made up 30.3% of the market. Demand for these vehicles, although recently affected by the pandemic, is still growing at varying rates. This July 2020, Passenger Car Sales is at 30.6%”.
Some may view sedans having limited practicality, but Okamoto believes it's not the case at all. He mentions that Toyota sedans have been helping businesses over the years, emphasizing that these vehicles are used as taxi cabs and Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) units. According to Okamoto, sedan sales are also helped by company car fleets as well. “Even families who already have larger vehicles still consider sedan vehicles for their secondary car”, said the executive.
Furthermore, sedans play a key role in TMPs strategy. “This local car market condition is a key reason why our local production remains predominantly sedan-based. Our Vios has enjoyed wide acceptance throughout the years and we remain committed to working to meet our CARS Program target”.
But aside from all that, sedans have become the platform for new and advanced technology. Okamoto used the all-new Corolla Altis as an example. Their (not so) compact sedan has features such as adaptive cruise control, pre-collision system, automatic high beam, lane tracing assist, and lane departure alert, which are all included in the Toyota Safety Sense package. These features, once reserved for mega-buck luxury cars, are now standard in the Corolla Altis.
Also, Toyota has long been using sedans as a platform for its hybrid vehicles and has been pulling out all the stops to make it a more mainstream choice in the country. Putting the Hybrid Synergy Drive in the Corolla Altis is an example of that. Overseas, Toyota is even doubling down on sedans by redesigning the Crown and Century, giving the Camry an all-wheel-drive option, and adding hybrid power to the all-new Avalon.
So there you have it, straight from the TMP boss himself. Sedans are here to stay and will always be part of our culture. Besides, we simply can't imagine a world without the Vios and Corolla Altis.