The Toyota Camry has topped U.S. sales for more than a decade and is now on track to still be No. 1 for the 12th straight year, beating the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. But in 2014, there’s a risk that it would be toppled by any of its rivals. Eric Noble, president of Car Lab, an industry consultant, said that Toyota had been able to “defend price and volume” for a couple of generations wherein the Camry was able to thrive.
Noble claims that the Camry is now just like any other vehicle as its world is now different. The Camry plays with a narrower margin as Ford has presented another Fusion assembly line, General Motors will soon offer a refreshed Malibu and Hyundai Motor Co. is building an all-new Sonata. But even if the Camry isn’t No. 1 next year, Toyota will still be a key player.
It has proven its resilience after having returned from an extensive product recall in 2009 and 2010 and then from the tsunami in March 2011 that seriously hurt suppliers in Japan. Toyota had been focusing on the 2012 Camry’s output in order to cope with demand and get the top spot.
While it can’t be argued that automakers want to have the highest sales, some would say that profit is more important than volume. What has changed in the market is that automakers, even those in Detroit, are building mid-sized sedans, which make up the biggest pie in the U.S. auto market.