Toyota relying on the revamped Camry for a sales surge in the U.S.

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 14, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. is relying on the revamped Camry for a sales surge in the U.S. Toyota’s flagship model faces the additional challenges of a stronger currency a reduced profit from the floods in Thailand. Last week, Toyota cut its earnings forecast by over 50% for the year that ends in March, attributed to a production slump after the worst floods in Thailand in nearly 70 years.

Last October, the 2012 Camry was released with a target to raise sales affected by the natural disaster in Japan. However, it kept its title as the No. 1 U.S. passenger car when it comes to sales.

Maryann Keller, an auto analyst and president at Maryann Keller & Associates, said that the car is facing a “lot of pressure.” She added that the car is considered to be competitive within the midsize sedan segment but then, it isn’t seen to be a lot better or worse than its rivals. She said that Hyundai’s Sonata is the perceived design leader but Kia’s Optima is “doing well” too.

Toyota is expected to lose its title as the biggest automaker in the world to General Motors Co. But Toyota is adamant that Camry would still be the top-selling car in the U.S., a position it has had in 13 of the last 14 years. However, the recovery from parts shortages and assembly disruptions will prove to be easier for it than its competitors.

Larry Dominique, the executive vice president of TrueCar.com and former head of Nissan Motor Co.’s North American product planning, said that Camry has the “lion’s share” of the recovering market share and profitability in the U.S. Dominique explained that offering a new product is the best way to get market share and profitability and that the Camry is the biggest.

The Camry from Toyota is not only the best-selling car in the U.S. for nine straight years but it has been that way in thirteen of the last fourteen years. Indeed, the first Camry was unveiled by Toyota in 1983 where it would become the template for what would be the midsize sedan. It also managed to set new standards when it comes to Dependability, Quality, and Reliability.

Delivering a quiet and comfortable is included as well. Since that first release, at least 15 million units of the Camry have been sold around the world. With this in mind, Toyota revealed it will be releasing the new 2012 Camry, the seventh generation of this range. Aside from having a new, class, bold design, its interior offers more space and a ride that is quieter than ever.

Driving dynamics has been enhanced as well and multi-media technology is fitted inside. Fuel economy is excellent with safety features being among the best in its class. It is safe to say that it may be the best Camry there is. Like in the previous generation, three selections for the powertrain will be offered as well. However for the 2012 Camry, all of them have been improved to give performance that is more responsive and offers better fuel economy. All of the models will be fitted with the modified 4-cylinder 2.5-liter engine.

Power output is better by 9 hp at 178 hp with peak torque coming in at 170 lb.-ft. Fuel economy has EPA-estimated city rating of 25 mpg, highway at 35 mpg, and combined at 28 mpg. The latter is better by at least two mpg more when compared to the prior generation. This same engine has been equipped with the Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent, or Dual VVT-i.

With this, the valve timing on exhaust camshafts and intake are controlled in order to optimize the efficiency and performance regardless of the engine speed. Even the torque is enhanced in a wide range of engine speeds using the Acoustic Control Induction System. General Manager and Group Vice President of Toyota Division Bob Carter said that the 2012 Camry is a mix of the evolution of the different values of the car like safety, reliability, efficiency, and safety.

This is combined with an engaging driving experience and its more attractive design, he added. The midsize sedan segment has been facing one of the strongest competition and by introducing the 2012, Toyota hopes to continue its lead and at the same time broaden its appeal, Carter continued.

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