Camry Is Back In The Game!

It has not been an easy year for Toyota Camry. The perennial winner of best-selling car in the US seemed to be in danger of losing i...

It has not been an easy year for Toyota Camry. The perennial winner of best-selling car in the US seemed to be in danger of losing its grasp on the title, which it has won for the past 11 consecutive years.

From January to June 2013, Camry’s sales dropped by 2% while its main competitors - the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion - began celebrating great gains in sales. A year earlier, Accord’s sales was about 59 000 units behind the Camry, but the first half of 2013 saw the former catching up rapidly, narrowing the gap by more than half.

Toyota’s knee-jerk reaction was to offer discounts, making the average sale price of the Camry during early July the lowest amongst the most popular midsize sedans. And it worked. Sales began to climb and, coincidentally, total sales of Camry in the US (since it was first launched in 1983) passed the 10 millionth mark that month.

Then in late October 2013, the marque was hit by another blow when Consumer Reports dropped Camry as the recommended car due to its performance, rated ‘poor’, in a new crash test introduced by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2012. Camry was among the many others, including Toyota’s other popular car, the Prius, which failed the new ‘small overlap’ test which enacted a collision between a barrier and a portion of the front bumper on the driver’s side at the speed of 40mph. The Accord and Fusion, however, aced the test.

Nonetheless, industry experts did not expect this news to affect Camry’s sales, believing that marketing incentives would mitigate any buyers’ qualms, and in November, Camry posted sales of 30 386 units, while the Accord trailed behind by almost 3300 units in that month and more than 40 000 units for the entire year thus far.

To further cement the Camry’s imminent victory as the best-selling car for the 12th time in a row, the new 2014 Camry, along with its comrade, the Prius, were just recently retested in the same ‘small overlap’ test. With their strengthened structures, the 2 cars performed better and were rated ‘acceptable’ in that regard by the IIHS. So, rest assured that these models, albeit those built after November 2013, are even more safe than before.
See the tests for yourselves:-

2012

2013  

The IIHS recently released its list of Top Safety Picks which had shrunk significantly to 39 picks from 130 last year.

The President of IIHS, Adrian Lund, did say, “…many vehicles that were on the list last year fall off for 2014. If you’re driving one of those vehicles, it doesn’t mean that your vehicle is suddenly less safe. Your vehicle still offers a high level of crash potential. However, the Institute is raising the bar. The new list shows people those vehicles with state-of-the-art safety for 2014.”

Although the Camry was on the list, it did not receive a coveted place on the Top Safety Pick+, the higher accolade for models which featured high levels of front crash prevention systems, but the Prius did. Honda, however, led the winners with 8 of its models making its way into the list, while Toyota only had a total of 3.

image: toyota.com


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