High Stakes: What the 2012 Toyota Camry Needs to Remain a Best-Seller

By Automotive Staff | July 14, 2011
The Toyota Camry has been a best-seller in the U.S. market for years, but the 2012 model has an uphill battle to maintain its most popular position with new entries like the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and 2013 Chevrolet Malibu stealing the spotlight. So what must the 2012 Toyota Camry do to keep its title? How should Toyota improve the Camry this year? That's exactly what the Automotive.com staff hopes to answer with the perspectives offered below. Jacob Brown's opinion: With the imminent introduction of the 2012 Toyota Camry upon us, Toyota shouldn't stray from its roots. As Chevy discovered with the Cruze, if you build a safe, reliable, conservative but not dowdy car, people will buy it — and that's what Toyota has traditionally done with the Camry. Toyota should focus on improving the quality of its interior materials, an area that has been sub-par the last few years. Toyota will easily jump back where it left off on the sales chart if it can raise interior quality, keep performance on the same level as its competitors in terms of safety, power, and fuel economy, and not suffer any more foibles from cheapening out on supplier parts like its sticking accelerator pedals that were part of 2010's recall. Jason Davis' opinion: For millions of Americans, the Camry is roomy, efficient, and most importantly—dependable. And while those attributes are worthy, the midsize sedan lacks two qualities I will never give up: passion and excitement. Even with a family to haul, I don’t want docile styling and ho-hum engine performance; I want a car that can roll up its sleeves and offend people, a car I can show off at work. If Toyota wants to appeal to consumers like me, the Camry needs to be more than an unbreakable, all-purpose appliance. It needs to buck the trend, change the game, and have some pride. Sam Grossman’s opinion The Camry may have great sales numbers, but it is doesn't have much charm. The car's interior could be more inviting and it wouldn't hurt to have flashier exterior styling. If I were to purchase a car in the midsize sedan class, the Nissan Altima would be on the top of my list, but if Toyota makes the 2012 Camry's interior more impressive, it could really boost the car's appeal. Trevor Dorchies' opinion Camry in Japanese means “crown,” and it has earned that name as the best-selling car in the U.S. If reliability is what you want, the Camry is a good choice but don’t expect much more than that. While the Camry may be able to haul around the kids to soccer practice with some gear in the spacious trunk, driving excitement isn't part of the experience. Toyota has a solid vehicle that is likely to pull great sales numbers in its latest generation.  Just don’t look for a young guy like myself to use one as a daily ride. Joel Arellano's opinion I recently drove a Camry base model and found the engine to be competitive, and the transmission smooth even during spirited driving on SUV-crowded highways. The interior was impressively quiet as benefiting Toyota’s reputation. Even so, Toyota needs to up the ante on the interior design and materials, which looked dated even for a base model. Tighten the overly soft suspension, too. Finally, I’d like to see a return to the sleeker designs of prior generations; right now, the Camry looks bloated. Matthew Askari's opinion When proposing changes to the 2012 Toyota Camry, it’s important to understand Camry owners. Toyota has achieved great success despite design elements that leave much to be desired and performance that isn’t exactly inspired. So how does the Camry remain popular? The logic may be found in ice cream: vanilla is America’s biggest annual seller. People know what they’re getting with a Camry: exceptionally high safety marks, dependability, a smooth quiet ride, and enough cabin room for the whole family. Toyota would be well served to remember Camry owners' core values moving forward. Do you agree with us? What does the 2012 Camry need to succeed in the U.S. market? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
  • 2011 Toyota Camry Quarter
  • 2011 Toyota Camry Rear
  • 2011 Toyota Camry Zinterior
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  • 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid Front
  • 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid Zinterior
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  • 2011 Toyota Camry Se Front
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  • 2011 Toyota Camry Se Zinterior
 
4 comments
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neel
neel

Yes even i feel that there is a real necessity of changing the Camry appearance. Rest models are getting a newer appearance and present generation gives more importance for the design style and then they consider the performance. Rest features are fine in Camry.

D G
D G

"exceptionally high safety marks" Really? The current Camry misses both being an IIHS Top Safety Pick and gets only four stars overall from NHTSA's tests. And getting to four took some redesigning. In real world crashes, it has higher claims than the Accord and even the previous Sonata. The new one had better achieve both awards right out of the box.

Calgary Dodge
Calgary Dodge

I drive my Camry in between my Dodge truck's trips and so far I'm satisfied with its performance. However, I agree that Camry has to improve much on its interiors. Not a big makeover tho, just a touch that would rejuvenate its styling and make it hip to "not-so-young" folks like me.

Edmonton Chrysler
Edmonton Chrysler

With all the improvements made by other automakers with their line-ups, Toyota had followed suit. I heard they are about to release a newer Camry version. I hope they will have the courage to revolutionize Camry's blah appearance - because if they will not, Camry beware of other car models.

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