Toyota Motor Co showed off its all-new Camry, aiming to recover lost sales momentum with price cuts and a high-powered ad campaign for its flagship sedan that remains America’s best-selling car.Sales of the Camry are down 8 per cent this year but it is still No. 1 in the United States despite market-share gains by mid-size rivals the Nissan Motor Co Altima, Ford Motor Co Fusion, General Motors Co Chevrolet Malibu and Hyundai Motor Co Sonata.
Losing sales this year has been the Honda Motor Co Accord, which has fallen to No. 4 among mid-size cars from its No. 2 position in 2010.
The launch of the new Camry comes at a time when Toyota is struggling to shake free of the damage from costly safety recalls and the more recent problems caused by production shortages after the March earthquake.The Japanese automaker has seized on the redesigned Camry as a symbol for its own return as a force in its most important overseas market.
Toyota unveiled the 2012 Camry with unusual fanfare at events staged in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York that featured a live video link from a plant in Kentucky where President Akio Toyoda drove the first production vehicle off the assembly line. “The launch of the new Camry is very important to our company,” Toyoda told workers at the plant.
“This car has become a symbol of Toyota’s success over the years. So you might say this is an opportunity to show the world again what Toyota is all about,” Toyoda said.
Camry’s US sales peaked in 2007, as Toyota extended a lead over GM in global auto sales. That was also the first year of the current generation of Camry.
Some 15 million Camrys have been sold worldwide since it debuted in the US market in 1983. It has been the top-selling car in the US market for nine years running and 13 of the last 14 years, said Bob Carter, who runs the Toyota brand in the United States.
Overall, US Toyota sales fell 7 per cent through July for the No. 3 spot behind GM and Ford. Most of its competitors gained, led by Hyundai with a sales increase of 23 per cent. The Camry has been criticized by some auto enthusiasts -and Toyota’s rivals -as being plain-vanilla in its styling.
From / Gulf Today