The Vanguard posed a threat to Lexus market
I really appreciate the work you are doing and the effort you put in informing and educating us about cars. I read your articles whenever I can and admire your knowledge of cars; Is it possible for you to have a Youtube channel where you can upload videos of the cars you review, for example the Volkswagen Polo Vivo Maxx, in the near future? It would be great to get a review of the cars and see their capabilities, handling, as well as any shortcomings.
Now to my main question: I admire the Toyota Vanguard for its stylish design as well as performance and off-road capabilities. I have noted there has been an increase in Vanguards and the sales are higher compared to its competitors in the mid-size SUV range such as Outlanders, X-trails and Foresters. What concerns me, though, is that I have little information. I need to understand why Toyota decided to stop producing the Vanguard in 2012 and instead focused on the RAV4 platform. Isn’t this strange, considering the Vanguard’s features, such as most of them being 7-seaters, affordable and being roomier than the RAV4? Is it that the car had a problem or what reason did they have for stopping its production? And does that mean that getting spares for the Vanguard will be a challenge in future?
I do have a Youtube channel called Motoring Press Agency, just like the website.
The Vanguard had to die for several reasons. First, Japan has a unique automotive tax obligation regime that centres on external dimensions and engine capacity; that is why the Kei car is so popular in that archipelago. It might be more out of necessity (availability of space to manoeuvre around, let alone park, is at a perigee) and fiscal sense (those taxes can get punitive the higher up you go in vehicle size) than the forced cuteness of the little mobility pods. The Vanguard is the antithesis of the establishment’s regulations: it is the blue-pill Pfizer version of an already fairly sizeable vehicle: the Toyota RAV4. The vehicle would prove costly to own in its own home market, and it, therefore, had to die.
(Addendum I: methinks the ordinary RAV4 will meet its end soon as well, to abdicate its position in favour of the newfangled and frankly hateful new kid on the block called the C-HR. I hope I’m wrong on this).
Speaking of abdicating positions, the second reason the Vanguard croaked was to allow its sexier cousin from Lexus to rule the roost undisturbed. This is something I discussed when I reviewed the all-new Land Rover Discovery some weeks ago. Model positioning to prevent a new vehicle from poaching sales from an existing one is something only Toyota seems to have mastered since at one point they had the Verossa, the Mark II and the Mark X on sale at the same time. Let not the skin fool you, this is the same car. However, with the new RAV4 model out, built on what they call the “New MC underpinnings”, Lexus took a shortcut and based their new RX crossover on that platform as well, the same platform that you’ll find supporting vehicles like the Alphard and the Prius.
The quandary facing the corporate giant was the Verossa-mark Ii-mark X one all over again, the difference being that, unlike then, nowadays the general public is fed distilled intelligence by an overenthusiastic motoring press agency and the prolif- eration of Internet access in general and social media in particular means critical information can be, and is, disseminated in real time. Decisions can be made and unmade right there on the showroom floor by a few quick taps on a smartphone screen. It would not make sense to have the RAV4, the Vanguard and the Harrier XU60 on sale concurrently as they would cannibalize sales from each other, despite them all falling under the same umbrella. One had to go, but which one?
The RAV4 started it all back in 1994, the real OG. You don’t just pull the rug out from under grandpa’s feet, do you? The Harrier is the Lexus, and Lexus needs representation in that sector, or else German fare like the Mercedes GLE and BMW’S X cars fester unfettered all over the motoring landscape and if you recall my earlier discussion about Lexus, the reason it swung into existence was to keep the Germans in check and inform them that luxury can be had for reasonable money. So with the RAV4’S and Harrier’s job securities guaranteed, the Vanguard suddenly found itself drawing the short straw and getting tossed out in the cold. The role of the roomy crossover will continue to be assumed by the Highlander, or what Kenyans know as the Kluger. Sayonara, Vanguard, you have been declared redundant and no one will really miss you. You were nothing but a priapic RAV4. Bring on the C-HR...
(Addendum II: Why are you worried about Toyota spares? Really, why? How long do you plan on keeping a Vanguard for you to worry about spares availability when until now spares for vehicles from 30 years ago are still readily available? Take a breath and contemplate on the ephemeral lifespan of the lengthened RAV4 derivative, and if Toyota shot itself in the foot by killing the wrong car).
The Rav4-like Vanguard: Production was stopped to prevent it from poaching sales from existing brands.