Toyota logs 9.5% drop in Camry sales in February 2013

Article by Anita Panait, on March 6, 2013

Toyota Motor Corp. posted a 9.5-percent year-on-year dive in sales of its Camry sedan in February 2013. Camry’s sales dive in February marks the biggest decline in 16 months, reducing the Japanese car’s sales growth to around half of what analysts had expected. The sales decline in February 2013 undermines the increasing competition for Toyota.

Camry competes in the mid-sized car segment that accounts for around 22 percent of light-vehicle sales in the United States. Its rivals include models that were given upgrades in 2012 like the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima, which were offered with bigger discounts in January 2013, according to researcher Edmunds.com.

Camry’s sales would have to continue to drop in the next months for it to be ousted from its No. 1 spot. The sedan outsold its closest rivals by around 22 percent in 2012 and it has managed to keep the same lead in the first two months of 2013. Camry was also a major factor in Toyota’s feat in regaining its crown as the largest carmaker in the world in 2012.

Alec Gutierrez, analyst for Kelley Blue Book, told Bloomberg News that it would be tougher for Camry to maintain the level of dominance it exhibited in 2012. He remarked that for Toyota to maintain its dominant position, it needs to look carefully at its incentive approach.

According to researcher TrueCar Inc., Toyota’s prices across its entire vehicle line-up were 5.9-percent higher than in February 2012, which is the largest hike of any major carmaker. The increase was much higher than the industry average increase of 1.2 percent, according to TrueCar. To get more people to buy the Camry, Toyota offered last week a no-interest financing on the 2013 Camry, excluding the hybrid version.

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