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.
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.