Toyota today announced its all-new Camry, the mid-size sedan that has been the auto company's bread and butter for decades.
The Camry has been America's best-selling car for 13 of the past 14 years. If ever there were a sedan that could be called the world's car, it's the Camry. Since its introduction in 1983, Toyota has sold 15 million of them. It's as popular as a taxi fleet vehicle in the Middle East and North Africa as it is with families throughout the Americas and even car-snobbish Europe, according to International Business Times.
So important is the new Camry to Toyota's recovery that the company's president, Akio Toyoda, traveled to Kentucky so he could drive the first completed car off the assembly line and proclaim "100 percent confidence" in the work of his designers and engineers.
"You might say that this is an opportunity to show the world again what Toyota is all about," Toyoda said. He called the Camry, which accounted for 22 percent of Toyota's sales in the United States last year, "a symbol of Toyota's success." It has been the best-selling car in the United States for nine consecutive years, reports Bend Bulletin.
Sales of the company's flagship Toyota brand in the U.S. have fallen almost 6% this year through July, a period during which auto sales overall have climbed almost 11% from a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp. The brand's market share has fallen to 11.4% from 13.4%, the biggest drop of any major nameplate. And that follows a big dip in 2010.
The Camry's market share in the mid-size car segment so far this year is 13.8%. That's down from a share of 16.5% in 2010 and a peak within the last decade of 18.8% in 2009, according to Edmunds.com.
Until recently, Toyota and Honda, the two biggest Japanese brands in America, were considered the default choices for sedan buyers. But that's changed as U.S. automakers restructured their businesses and put a renewed emphasis on designing fuel-efficient passenger cars, says Los Angeles Times.