The rebalancing act has left Jim Lentz, Toyota's North American CEO, satisfied with the automaker's capacity in the region and its trajectory as the market continues to shift toward light trucks.
"If I would be nervous at all, it could be on the passenger-car side with nothing but sedans in Kentucky, so we've got to watch that," Lentz said during an interview late last year. The Georgetown, Ky., plant produces the Camry, the Avalon and the Lexus ES.
As for the Avalon, its best hopes may lie in the slow withering of the segment. Among other makers of large sedans, Chevrolet is unlikely to extend the Impala to an 11th generation; Hyundai has discontinued the Azera; and Ford is widely expected to cut the Taurus from its North American lineup.
U.S. sales of full-size cars were down 11 percent last year, with little sign of an upturn. That means the Avalon stands to gain only a larger slice of a shrinking pie. But that's not nothing.
"Automakers that have a good position within the sedan size and are making money, it's a lot easier for them to stick it out and be the last ones standing," said Mark Wakefield, an industry consultant at AlixPartners.
Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor at Kelley Blue Book, thinks the minivan market may be a good example of where cars are going. As competitors leave, survivors can settle in more comfortably — and profitably.
"There's only four or five players left in that [minivan] segment, and they're all able to make good money," DeLorenzo said.
Toyota executives like where they stand. With C-HR sales gathering steam and the expansion of Tacoma pickup production capacity in Mexico underway, Lentz said, the brand has a broad selection of vehicles on the car side and the light-truck side to keep buyers happy.
"In the end," he said, "customers are coming in to buy Toyota products and leaving with Toyota products, so it's working out."