2012 Camry is the key for Toyota to take its market share back from Hyundai

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 14, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. is relying on Camry sales to hit its earnings target for 2011 and to regain the market share that now belongs to Hyundai Motor Co.'s Sonata sedan. The Camry has been the top-selling car in the U.S. but for the month of May, it lost to the Sonata as Hyundai increased production of this model.

On July 12, Yoshimi Inaba, Toyota's North American chairman, said that Sonata had become a “very honorable contender in the market” and that Toyota has “good respect” for it. The U.S. sales of the Camry in 2010 fell to 327,804 units, about 31% lower than in 2007, which is its best-ever year.

In the same period, sales of the Honda Accord fell by 28% to 282,530 units. These two models are nearing the end of their current product cycles. Last year, sales of the revamped Sonata rose 35% to 196,623 units last year. J.D. Power & Associates gave the overall design quality of the 2011 Sonata a rating of “among the best."

It was also named by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as a "Top Safety Pick." Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of auto researcher Edmunds.com in Santa Monica, Calif., said that for at least a decade, Toyota's Camry and Honda's Accord had "defined" the U.S. midsize segment.

But this has changed in recent years as Hyundai has been optimizing efforts to do well in this segment. Last month, President Akio Toyoda told U.S. dealers in Las Vegas that the Camry’s next version will feature a design that’s more contemporary. Its performance and handling will also be improved.

Toyota launched its seventh generation Toyota Camry, one of the United States’ top selling cars for close to a decade. It also topped sales charts for 13 out of the last 14 years. The 2012 Toyota Camry comes out with a sophisticated and bold design with an interior that is very spacious. The driving dynamics is now even better and quieter. The Toyota Camry boasts of leading edge multimedia technology, fuel economy, and safety, thus making the 2012 model the best ever.

The first Toyota Camry was introduced in 1983, providing a strong basis for the modern medium-sized sedan as it set standards for dependability, reliability and quality, mixed with a promise of a quiet and comfortable ride. Since coming up with the first Camry, Toyota has moved more than 15 million Camry units all over the world.

Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, explains that the new 2012 Toyota Camry combines all the characteristics that the brand is known for: reliability, safety, comfort, and efficiency. The new model also showcases a more eye-catching design, providing drivers a much more engaging driving experience.

Carter further explains that the competition for cars in the Camry’s segment is now at its strongest, and he is confident that the Camry will continue to rule it over the other mid-sized sedan cars in its class.

The 2012 Camry still offers the same three powertrain choices. The enhanced 2.5 L engine that has four cylinders gives you an output of 178 hp, nine hp more than the previous models. It also gives you 170 pound foot of torque for excellent roadholding. The fuel economy is also evident as the Camry is rated to deliver 28 miles per gallon: 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, much better than the previous Camry. The 2.5 L engine uses Dual VVT-i or Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent, which manages the valve timing to help the car come up with the best efficiency and performance regardless of engine speeds. Meanwhile, the Acoustic Control Induction System helps give you optimum torque over a variety of engine speeds.

Then you have the DOHC 3.5-liter V6, which you can get when you go for the XLE and SE grades. This engine gives you 268 hp at 6,200 revolutions per minute, while also giving you maximum torques of 248 lb.-ft. at 4,700 rpm. The engine has been further enhanced to have EPA ratings of 21 mpg for city driving and 30 mpg for highway driving, topping all V6 sedans of its size.

The V6 engine makes use of chain driven camshafts and Dual VVT-i. It also features an automatic transmission fluid warmer and a lower oil viscosity for better efficiency and better performance in cold weather. You also have higher final drive-gear ratios that help the car’s fuel economy.

Then you have the gas-powered LE, SE, and XLE engines that have six-speed automatic transmission, which offers a sequential manual shift mode. The Camry SE is the only one to offer D range sequential shifting that gives you manual shifting using the new steering wheel paddle shifters. You can also get the faster shift times in the automatic transmission only from Camry SE.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid: The New Benchmark for Medium-Sized Hybrid Sedans

The new Camry Hybrid features the radically improved Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain that has a new 2.5 L engine. The 2012 Camry Hybrid LE has a fuel efficiency rating of around 43 mpg for city driving and 39 mpg for highway driving for an EPA estimated rating of 41 mpg combined. The new model is better than previous Camry Hybrid models due to the powertrain, better aerodynamics, and a lighter weight.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive system has a unique trans-axle that gives you the 200 hp performance from the four-cylinder engine and a high-torque electric motor. You can get running on either of these engines or on the combined power of both if necessary.

The 2.5 L engine utilizes the Atkinson cycle where you have delayed intake-valve closing to make the expansion ratio greater than compression ratio. That gives you top efficiency. The Variable Valve Timing with intelligence system gives you added torque, while an electric water pump, a variable-output oil pump, and a roller-rocker type valve train help tone down the friction and increase the fuel economy.

You also have a new water-cooled exhaust gas recirculation system that ensures reduced emissions regardless of how fast you are going while also increasing fuel efficiency. The EGR system cools and controls exhaust gas injected into each of the engine’s cylinder, eliminating the need to thicken the air-fuel mixture in order to regulate cylinder temperatures.

The 2012 Camry Hybrid complies with the Advanced Technology Partial-credit Zero Emissions Vehicle standards. But that’s not all. The sound-absorbing materials you find in the engine compartment gives it a great sound as it accelerates!

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