Posts Tagged ‘2012 toyota camry’

Battle of the Heavyweights: Can Nissan’s Altima Topple Toyota Camry?

Toyota chief insists, “It simply won’t happen.”

by on Jun.22, 2012

Toyota aims to maintain its lead in the midsize segment but faces tough competition.

In the automotive answer to a sumo title match, two Japanese automotive heavyweights are about to square off, Nissan declaring a throwdown against long-time rival Toyota for dominance in the crucial midsize car market.

The smaller of the two makers is betting its newly redesigned Altima can topple the long-time segment leader, the Toyota Camry.  But its rival is clearly not ready to cede dominance anytime soon, a senior Toyota official told

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“It simply won’t happen,” said Toyota brand boss Bob Carter when asked if Altima has a chance of winning the perennial midsize grudge match. At the end of 2012, he declared during an interview, “Camry will be the best-selling car in America for the 12th consecutive year.”

Not if Nissan has its say.  “We are expecting to compete at the top level, and we are going to take a shot at being number one in the segment,” said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, during the debut of the new Altima at the New York Auto Show in April.


Toyota Turns to Fleets to Inflate Sales

Japanese maker borrows tricks from Detroit playbook.

by on Feb.20, 2012

Toyota has been ramping up incentives and fleet sales to prop up the new Camry.

Struggling to regain sales and market share momentum after months of production shortages, Toyota is lifting a few plays from its Detroit competitors – notably bumping up incentives and dumping the new Camry and other products into low-profit fleets.

The strategy may generate strong year-over-year sales numbers after the sharp downturn the maker suffered in 2011, but it suggests Toyota may be finding it harder to lure back once-loyal buyers in today’s hotly competitive market. The shift could also make it difficult for the maker to reverse its recent earnings downturn as it trades sales gains for lower margins.

(Toyota earnings slide 14% during latest quarter. Click Here for that story.)

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January’s numbers initially seemed strong, Toyota posting an overall 7.5% increase, year-over-year, the maker giving much of the credit to the redesigned 2012 Camry.  “This month’s results show that the all-new Camry is a hit, attracting both new and loyal customers with its class-leading performance and value,” said Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

But a closer inspection reveals that fully half of the Camry sedans were dumped into daily rental fleets.  Excluding those vehicles, Toyota sales would be up a far more modest 1% for January.


January Car Sales Off to Good Start

VW up nearly 50%, Toyota regains momentum, but GM slips.

by on Feb.01, 2012

The new VW Passat helped the maker score a nearly 50% sales gain in January.

With Volkswagen and Chrysler Group leading the way, the U.S. auto industry is off to a good start for 2012, a number of key analysts upping their forecasts for the full-year.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR for the new vehicle market appears to have hit 13.5 million units in January providing support for predictions that 2012 will be another year of growth in the automobile industry. While General Motors went into negative territory, the overall automotive market saw significant gains, some makers — including Audi — reporting best-ever sales.

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Chrysler reported U.S. sales of 101,149, a 44% increase compared with sales in January 2011 (70,118 units), the group’s best January sales since 2008. It also marked the maker’s 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains and eighth-consecutive month of sales increases of at least 20%.


Toyota “Puts the Past Behind Us”

Maker to emphasize “aggressive dynamics,” passionate styling, not just quality.

by on Nov.02, 2011

Toyota was forced to make major changes to the 2012 Camry's design when dealers gave the original look a thumbs-down.

It was definitely not the sort of reception Toyota executives were anticipating – but it was a clear eye-opener when they took a prototype of the all-new Camry sedan to show U.S. dealer during the spring of 2010.

“They were not thrilled,” admits Jim Lentz, Toyota’s top U.S. executive.  “They wanted an extra 10%,” especially when it came to what Lentz now admits was a dull exterior design.  “So, that’s what we gave them.”

The meeting led to some dramatic changes to what was launched, several months ago, as the 2012 Toyota Camry – the final production version of the sedan getting new front and rear fascias, rockers and tail lamps as well as some modest interior tweaks.

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But more importantly, the face-off with dealers has led Toyota to think differently about what it brings to market, says Lentz.  “Staying closer to our dealers (gets us) much closer to our customers,” he explains, adding that the message learned is that Toyota cannot simply market itself as a company producing high-quality cars anymore.


Toyota Pushes Up New Camry Launch

Maker anxious to introduce its most critical 2012 product line.

by on Sep.02, 2011

The 2012 Toyota Camry will now roll into showrooms by mid-September.

Anxious to rebuild demand after six months of product shortages, Toyota says it will launch its new 2012 Camry sedan in mid-September, about two weeks ahead of its original schedule.

Camry is just one of 10 product launches Toyota is scheduling over the next year, with a mix of crossovers, sedans and even its first plug-in hybrid on the calendar, but no single model is more important than Camry which has been the nation’s best-selling passenger car for the last nine years running – and 13 of the last 14 years.

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The decision to move up the on-sale date of the new midsize sedan — originally planned for October 3rd — was announced during a conference call with reporters discussing the maker’s weak August sales numbers.  Toyota posted a 13% decline for the month.  That was better than the 24% dip posted by its Japanese rival, Honda, but a sharp contrast with the double-digit increases in demand reported by Detroit’s Big Three – as well as the third member of the Japanese Big Three, Nissan.


First Drive: 2012 Toyota Camry

Putting the brand on the line.

by on Aug.24, 2011

Toyota bills the 2012 Camry as a revolutionary redesign for the best-selling midsize sedan.

Few cars more clearly define a brand than Toyota’s midsize Camry sedan, a nameplate that has led the U.S. passenger car sales charts for 13 of the last 14 years.  And, arguably, no product is more important to Toyota as the maker struggles to emerge from a series of setbacks – including 2010’s safety recalls and this year’s earthquake-led production shortages.

Bringing a new car to market is a long and involved process, so it’s serendipitous that what Toyota is billing as “the reinvention of the Camry” will be ready to roll into showrooms for an October launch — just as the maker gets production at the last of its plants back up to speed.  The 25-year-old factory in Georgetown, Kentucky is already starting to build the first of the 2012 Toyota Camrys so we jumped at the chance to take the sedan for a spin through the challenging mountainous terrain in central Washington, a few hours east of Seattle.

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The Japanese giant is making some bold claims for the new 4-door, billing the 2012 Camry as essentially all-new — though that’s a matter of definition.  While the sedan still rides on the same platform as the outgoing model, the sheet metal has been completely redone for the new model-year, and 90% of the Camry’s parts have been “re-engineered.”


Toyota Cutting Price on 2012 Camry

Maker bows to increasingly competitive market.

by on Aug.24, 2011

Toyota will cut $1,150 off the starting price of the new 2012 Camry LE Hybrid.

Today will cut the price on its updated 2012 Camry sedan by as much as $2,000, depending on the specific model – a move that reflects the increasingly competitive nature of the U.S. midsize car market, the maker acknowledged during the official launch of the new model.

That doesn’t reflect the recent run-up in Toyota’s rebates and other incentives. The maker has increased givebacks, in recent months, as it has struggled to reverse declining sales.

Few cars are as important as Camry to Toyota, the sedan topping the passenger car sales charts for the last nine years, and 13 of the last 14 years, but in recent months, demand for the Camry has been slumping, and Toyota doesn’t want to risk momentum as it begins one of its most important new product launches in years.

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“We expect Camry will continue to earn its position as America’s number-one selling passenger car,” said Toyota brand boss Bob Carter, speaking from Los Angeles at an event simulcast to media gathered in a number of cities around the country.