Toyota to announce new Avalon big car at Detroit auto show

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DETROIT (AP) — Toyota will introduce a revamped Avalon full-size car at the Detroit auto show in January at a time when sales of big cars are falling as U.S. buyers continue their shift toward SUVs.

The Michigan-designed Avalon will arrive in showrooms in the spring. Executive Vice President Bob Carter says that despite falling sales, there is still a significant number of people who want large premium cars. He says sales in the mainstream big-car segment have fallen because automakers haven't introduced much new in recent years.

"It's a healthy segment," Carter said. "It's been quite some time since there's really been any innovative product in there."

He wouldn't give further details about the car, saying they would be released at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Here's what you need to know about the Avalon and its competition:

— Avalon sales are off almost 30 percent through November, and sales of the top five large mainstream cars are down 11 percent to just over 276,000, according to Autodata Corp.

— Of the top five, only the Nissan Maxima is reporting a sales increase at 12.5 percent.

— The Avalon will be built on Toyota's new global underpinnings that also produced the new Camry midsize car, which Carter says is selling well since a redesigned version debuted this summer.

— For the past 15 years, the Camry has been the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. that isn't a pickup truck. Carter says that streak will end this year, predicting that it will be unseated by Toyota's RAV4 small SUV.

— The Nissan Rogue small SUV also outsold the Camry through November.

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