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.
The Camry utilizes a stylishly plain yet up-to-date shape, highlighting a broader, lower position than past models. The design passes on an "architectural statement" through firm, accurate character lines, while its firmly-curved door cross-section and more characterized rocker panel molding (chrome highlighted on LE and XLE) provide the Camry a more dynamic look.
Headlights give a more dramatic shape, with an articulated curvature of the main-beam unit converging into the bumper cover. Fog lights are standard on the XLE and SE grades. The rear lamp clusters wrap firmly into the body sides, with their top sections broadening out into the trunk panel.
Camry LE and XLE highlights additional exterior chrome trim, and the SE grade makes a big appearance with its own lower-body design and distinct fine-mesh upper grille section. The SE likewise includes three-part lower grille section housing fog lamps, alongside black sport trim headlamp bezels. The more catching rocker board moldings on the SE cleanly connect to integrated front and rear underbody spoilers, accentuating width, and the trunk lid carries an incorporated spoiler.
Highlighting the new body design are four new colors. Two of the colors (Attitude Black Metallic and Clearwater Blue) are brand-new to Toyota in the U.S. Attitude Metallic fuses in a brilliant blue pigment for a fascinating interpretation of traditional jet black; Clearwater Blue integrates a silver metallic pigment to give this tint a glassy, water-like finish.