The leader of the midsize car segment may be in trouble. Even though it has managed to stay on top through recalls, recessions, and natural disasters, the Toyota Camry may give up its place to its competition for the 2014 model year.
As America’s best-selling car for over the last decade, the Camry may see trouble in the form of the Ford Fusion and Malibu, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Sonata. These models will all be receiving updates, redesigns and refreshes for the 2014 model year, and although the Camry may receive a mid-cycle refresh, will it be enough?
So far this year, the Toyota Camry has held on to the top spot for its segment each month, and in August, it had a 22 percent sales increase, boosting its sales to 287,119 units so far this year. However, Honda, Nissan, and Ford are right behind, waiting for their turn at the top. “If you look at that entire segment today, there are really strong competitors. Go back 10 or 15 years and there were really only two choices in the segment. It was Camry or it was Accord,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota CEO of North America, in an interview with Bloomberg.
Even in terms of capacity, Toyota is holding on to the most volume of vehicles produced with 500,000 Camrys annually, but Honda’s numbers continue to climb, with over 400,000 Accords produced annually. Ford is pushing to increase production capacity for the Fusion to close the gap between the two companies, but it seems like Honda is Toyota’s biggest competition.
The Toyota Camry has been the number one seller since 2002, where it lost to the Accord in 2001. Honda is hungry for the top spot, and with the introduction of the new Accord lineup, the company has positioned itself nicely for this task. Could next year be the year of the Accord?