At the 2012 Toyota Camry debut last year, a fellow journalist asked if he needed to turn in his car enthusiast “card.” Why? Because he liked the look of the all-new sedan.
We know what he meant. Most car outlets portray the Toyota Camry as boring, bland, generic, and less flattering terms. Though still a hit among consumers, Toyota couldn’t help but notice the competition match the Camry in fuel economy and reliability, nominally its main strength. These competitors then attracted attention (and dollars) by other means: the Hyundai Sonata, for example, with its polarizing design, and the Ford Fusion and its sportier handling.
The Toyota Camry for model year 2012 incorporates many of these elements, and consumers have rewarded the automaker. According to Bob Carter, senior VP for automotive operations at Toyota, sales for the Toyota Camry have jumped 40 percent so far this year compared to 2011. A portion of this figure can be attributed to pent-up demand for the Camry, which build when Japan was slammed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. But the automaker has since returned to full operation, with overall sales of Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles up 28 percent for the same time period.
The 2012 Toyota Camry, as per our First Drive and Road Test reviews show, is sleeker and more stylish inside and out. That has not only drawn more consumers, says Carter, but actually affected their age demographic as well. Most Camry buyers tended to be in the mid-fifties. Now they’ve dropped to the even more desirable mid-forties range. States Carter, “We didn’t anticipate that much movement in the demographics.” He attributes the shift to the sporty-looking Toyota Camry SE trim, which makes up 40 percent of sales, and the new marketing message, which emphasizes the Camry’s handling and style.
Automotive.com’s take: What do you think of the Camry’s new look? Love it? Leave it? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Detroit Free Press