I respect your opinion, but this is like saying the LS460 doesn't compete with the S-class because it can come in short wheel base form at a much cheaper price point.
The Taurus and Charger all start in the high twenties while the 300, Azera, and Avalon start at a higher price. So maybe not direct competitors but I can guarantee you the Malibu is positioned to be the true Camry/Accord competitor by Chevrolet themselves.
And Avalon is still a cut above a Tauras. But I have to say, if Chevy is offering a coarse sounding I4, then the car really competes with both a Camry and to some extent an Avalon.
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while in general, I agree that big sedan market is not doing great even in USA, where it still exists (and I guess in China for some vehicles, rest of the world, ti is dead completely), Avalon is example of sales being good not bad... And together with ES350, they stayed essentially flat in 2014 over record braking 2013.
And Avalon is up actually in January YoY by decent amount (10%). It just shows that it is important that actual car is good.
Avalon sales may have been flat, but it costed Toyota triple the amount of incentives to keep the sales at that level.