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From Bland “Refrigerator” to “Captivating” Styling: Toyota Starts Over with Gen-8 Camry

But will it be enough to retain midsize sedan’s long dominance?

by on Jan.09, 2017

Toyota designers were looking to add to excitement to the new Camry for 2018.

Toyota is upping the ante in the midsize sedan battlefield – but is its new weapon arriving a little too late?

The Toyota Camry has long been the midsize king-of-the-hill, despite the fact that “We’ve been criticized for being conservative in our styling,” concedes the maker’s U.S. head of automotive operations, Bob Carter. With the eighth-generation Camry, Toyota set out to develop something that was more than a rolling “refrigerator.”

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“The all-new 2018 Camry is, without a doubt, the most captivating midsize sedan we’ve ever produced,” said Carter, as he introduced the new model at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (more…)

Toyota Goes Back to Drawing Board for Next-Gen Camry

No more “refrigerators” mantra pushes maker to improve styling.

by on Dec.01, 2016

Toyota offers a hint of the new Camry model it will reveal at the North American International Auto Show.

Look for an all-new, eighth-generation Toyota Camry to make its debut at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the automaker’s top U.S. executive confirmed today.

Calling it perhaps the most important product the automaker has ever launched in the U.S., Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bob Carter said the 2018 Camry will introduce a new and much more passionate approach to design and driving dynamics. The goal is to move away from the reliable but boring product that, Carter acknowledged, is often derided as a rolling “refrigerator.”

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“We’ve been criticized for being conservative in our styling. Some of you call it boring,” said Carter, speaking to reporters at a holiday gathering in Detroit. “Now we’re focusing on building a more fun-drive, stylish vehicle” which, he said, “sent shivers down my spine the first time I saw it.” (more…)

First Drive: 2015 Toyota Camry

The midsize market’s 800-lb gorilla gets an unexpected thorough makeover.

by on Oct.15, 2014

The 2015 Toyota Camry is full of surprises, including the fact that it got a top-down makeover just three short years after the last generation's introduction.

We live in an era of individuality. Whether it’s cellphones or sedans, Americans want products that reflect their individual tastes and needs. That’s especially true in the auto industry where buyers can choose from hundreds of different offerings and even a luxury brand like Mercedes-Benz has promised to deliver 30 new models by the end of the decade.

Yet a few key products routinely defy this trend, none more effectively than the venerable Toyota Camry which in 2013 generated about 408,000 sales in the U.S. alone, with the Japanese maker expecting that to reach 415,000 this year. When you’re clear and away the industry’s best-seller, why change your formula?

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And for the past three decades, Camry has, indeed, changed relatively little – which is why Toyota delivered such a shock when it unveiled the updated 2015 Camry earlier this year. Introduced barely three years after the last full model update, we might have expected only the most modest revisions, perhaps a new fascia and some tweaks to the interior. Instead, Toyota has changed nearly every single body panel and heavily reworked the cabin. (more…)

Toyota Delivers Major Mid-Cycle Update for Camry

Japanese giant aims to keep its king-of-the-hill status.

by on Apr.16, 2014

Bill Fay is group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., introduced the new Toyota Camry at the New York International Auto Show today.

This story has been updated to include new information.

Few vehicles have consistently dominated the competition as the Toyota Camry has, so one might traditionally expect it to deliver only the most modest of mid-cycle updates. But the 2015 Camry “refresh” is anything if conservative. The Japanese giant has rolled out an unexpectedly significant update that seems bound and determined to help Camry maintain its position as America’s best-selling passenger car.

Until recently, that dominance would seem hard to question, but Camry has been facing threats from a variety of fronts, including the Ford Fusion, the Nissan Altima – which actually claimed brief sales leadership in January and February – and from the Hyundai Sonata which is undergoing a major redesign that’s also debuting at this year’s New York Auto Show.

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Toyota got a sign that the market was shifting when it launched the current version of the Camry in late 2011. It received an unexpectedly cold response from dealers who saw an early prototype barely 18 months before launch, a big chill severe enough to force the maker to rush through a number of exterior changes late in the game.

So, this time, the maker isn’t taking any chances, and claims to have “re-imagined nearly every exterior surface of the car,” to the point where the only carryover piece of sheet metal is the roof.

“This is the biggest segment in the industry and everybody is upping their game,” said Toyota division general manager Bill Fay, noting that almost 2,000 different parts have been changed for 2015.

(more…)