Toyota’s Avalon The Next Lincoln Town Car?

Business executives and VIPs know it like the back of their hands. The Lincoln Town Car was, seemingly forever, an icon of power lunches and red carpet arrivals.

But this symbol of success and para-exclusivity saw its long run come to an end in 2011, leaving a gap in the workhorse luxury sedan segment. To possibly fill it, Toyota is looking to wedge its upscale Camry, the Avalon, into the void left by the Town Car as the next “black car,” as the Wall Street Journal calls it.

According to a WSJ blog post, Toyota will offer a hybrid version of the Avalon alongside a traditional internal combustion engine model for livery fleets. Squarely in the Avalon’s sites are the Chrysler 300, Cadillac XTX, and interestingly, Lincoln’s own luxo sedan, the MKT.

The 2013 V6 version of the Avalon livery model has a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission, with an EPA fuel economy rating of 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway, and retails for $31,360.

The hybrid Avalon has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine routing power to a CVT, produces 200 hp, and has an estimated 40 mpg city/39 mpg highway, with an expected MSRP base price of $33,750 for the 2013 model.

The WSJ notes that Toyota says 12,000 livery fleet operations, with 12 to 18 vehicles per fleet, are active in the U.S. The Lincoln Town Car’s departure presents Toyota with an opportunity to capitalize on a segment that saw the large Lincoln sedan capture 80 percent of the mid-size limo market.

Toyota says annual cumulative sales from 4,000 – 6,000 sedan limos per year across the industry.

You can do the math, but if Toyota could realize even half of those sales at between a little more than $31,000 to nearly $34,000 per sale, the potential payoff may be significant enough for Toyota to continue its own aspirations of achieving an overwhelming share of the everyman’s limo business.

Wall Street Journal

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  • Van

    Here is the price list:

    XLE Premium
    XLE Touring

    HYBRID XLE Premium
    XLE Touring

  • Volume Van

    Avalon Hybrid is a good candidate with 40 MPG. But wait …

    Tesla Model S with 160 mile range that costs $57,000 is a better product. Those limo’s may travel only 100 miles / day and even if they have to exceed 160 miles on any day, it can be recharged during the lunch time.

    These cars not only offer superior ride than ICE vehicle, but they also have 0 pollution and the extra cost could be recovered from the cheaper cost of electricity.

  • Van

    A model S with a 40 KWh battery costs about 57,000, or after the federal rebate, about $50,000. Now if they use 85% of the battery, then 34 kwh are available for range. If it gets 3.5 miles per kwh, then its range is about 120 miles.

    This would get you from LAX to Newport Beach and back but then the Limo would be OOS for many hours to recharge.

    Time will tell whether we see black Avalons, but they sport a very large back seat.

  • Van

    The Avalon has about 2 inches more head room and 4 inches more legroom than the Model S.

  • Jeff Cobb

    Van – Photo replaced. Sorry about the mix-up.

  • Nelson Lu

    The problem with trying to get a Tesla Model S instead of the Avalon Hybrid would be that Tesla can’t deliver the car in a reasonable timeframe. It’s simply not a true player in the marketplace yet. (And while others will disagree with me, I don’t think it ever will be.)

  • Van

    The Lincoln Town car sported a $50,000 sticker ($47-52 K) and had an even larger rear seat with leg room 4 inches greater than the Avalon and almost 10 inches more than the Model S. But, OTOH, its combined mileage was 19 MPG, or about 1/2 that of the Avalon.
    The WSJ may be right, we might see some fleet black Avalons that cost about $10,000 less initially and get twice the mileage.