Toyota has made a valiant effort to revamp their bestselling Camry model to meet new market demands and take on the newer and more sporty competition.
The redesigned 2015 Camry was unveiled Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show. It’s longer and wider than its predecessor with a large, aggressive grille and chiseled sides. Toyota says it redesigned every part of the vehicle — except the roof.
Although the Camry has been Toyota’s top selling car in the US for the last 12 years, they understand that tastes have changed. Customers now want more style, comfort, and performance as well as reliability.
US Toyota division chief Bill Fay said the company started redesigning the Camry almost immediately after the launch of the 2011 model. “Everyone was raising the stakes a bit. We had to make sure we could keep this competitive.”
The 2015 Camry features softer materials and a wireless charging system. The body is stiffer and the suspension and steering were re-tuned for more responsive driving.
The new Camry will help Toyota defend its market-share, which has been increasingly challenged by its competitors.
For example, the 2013 Honda Accord reduced the Camry’s sales lead to 41,000 cars last year, from 73,000 in 2012. The Nissan Altima and the Ford Fusion also made heavy inroads into Toyota’s traditional customer base.
In addition, Toyota’s reputation was severely damaged by a series of recalls in 2010 and the Camry has never regained the 15 percent share of the midsize car market it held before the recalls. The launch of the Camry unfortunately coincides with the recently announced recall by Toyota of some 6.4 million vehicles suffering from a variety of defects.
Mike Cimino, a Hyundai dealer who also sells Toyotas, said the Camry doesn’t need revolutionary changes. Toyota buyers are extremely loyal, and are satisfied with small upgrades in design and technology.
Aaron Bragman, the Detroit bureau chief for Cars.com, says Toyota surprised him with the extent of the changes on the 2015 Camry, but he acknowledges that “They had to step up their game.”
Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with IHS Automotive summed up the situation very simply. She said “They will do what they need to do to stay on top.”