In late 2015, Toyota revealed that the automaker’s increasingly popular RAV4 would be increasingly leaned upon for major U.S. sales volume.
As of five years ago, Toyota USA had never sold more than 200,000 RAV4s on an annual basis. Toyota didn’t touch the 300,000 marker until 2015.
But the goal set in 2015 was loftier: 400,000 U.S. sales of the RAV4 in 2018. An SE trim level helped. Then the RAV4 Hybrid became a real success. Toyota sold 352,154 RAV4s in 2016 and is on track for 380,000 sales in 2017.
What will put the Toyota RAV4 over the hump?
If all goes according to plan, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure that goes on sale in September won’t be a mere oddball offshoot.
According to Automotive News, the elevated, fender-flared, tow-package-equipped RAV4 that Toyota revealed at the Chicago Auto Show last February is targeted for 40,000 annual U.S. sales.
Toyota is watching while passenger car buyers flee the midsize arena during the 2018 Camry’s launch year. Boosting the volume of the vehicle most likely to take over â€” the vehicle that’s already taken over â€” from the Camry as Toyota’s best-selling vehicle is a surefire way to reduce the sting.
Granted, some of those 40,000 RAV4 Adventure (aka RAV4 Trail) sales will siphon away sales of conventional RAV4s. But the goal for 40,000Â RAV4 Adventures still means roughly 10 percent of RAV4 volume heading the Adventure’s way.
On its own, Toyota’s goalÂ of 40,000 RAV4 Adventure sales means this one, unique RAV4 trim level will be more common than roughly half of all SUV/crossover nameplates on sale in America. For perspective, Volkswagen sold nearly 44,000 Tiguans in 2016, its best year ever. Mitsubishi sold 26,576 Outlanders. Mazda sold fewer than 19,000 CX-3s. Mini sold fewer than 13,000 Countrymans.
Laugh at the RAV4 Adventure if you must. But Toyota’s going to laugh all the way to the bank.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.