2017 NAIASOpinionToyota

The End is Neigh: The Camry Might Now Be Interesting


I will never, ever dispute the sales success of Toyota’s Camry midsize sedan. It’s reliable, affordable transportation that ticks the boxes of what many people want in a car. But it does have a reputation of not being all that exciting. Toyota looks to be changing that for the new one.

But why? Part of the reason why the Camry has been so successful is that Toyota doesn’t change the car much. There’s a winning formula there that repeat buyers have come to expect from their transportation. If Toyota were to change it too much, there’d be the potential of losing customers.

The same can be said for the Honda Accord. The Accord has always been the more “exciting” pick and the customers expect those cars to be a little sporty. If the Accord and Camry were to change roles, both would be more difficult sells.

So why is it now that Toyota is messing with a successful formula?

Except for January, according to our friends at Good Car Bad Car, the Camry was down on sales last year compared to the year prior. Midsize sedans, across all brands, are down last year as customer tastes head towards crossovers and SUVs. Just looks at the sales of the RAV4 for comparison.

Now is as good of time as any to mess with the Camry formula. Sales are naturally on the decline, which means if there is a change that might turn some customers off, they were probably heading to a crossover like the RAV4 anyway. But if they can change something to appeal to a different type of customer — a customer not looking for a crossover — then they could help control the midsize sedan sales decline or at least hedge against it.

That’s why I believe we’re seeing a more-focused sporty option on the Camry. A bright red interior — which does look great in person to my eyes — is just one of those changes. I believe the new Camry will be more than just “grounded to the ground,” but possibly a sporty contender when it never really used to be.

Of course nobody knows for sure until they get a chance to drive but, but for the first time in awhile people are excited about a new Camry. That’s a good thing.

Chad Kirchner
the authorChad Kirchner
In addition to Chad Kirchner's work here, he's a freelance automotive journalist for outlets around the world.

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