The Toyota Camry is the standard by which used cars are measured. Since its debut in 1979, the Toyota Camry (originally the Celica Camry) has dominated its market on the strength of the Toyota brand, reputation for reliability and affordability. As a worldwide sales leader, it is the model for which Toyota is best known, grabbing around 45 percent of Toyota’s U.S. sales annually.
The Toyota Camry (which dropped the Celica badge by 1982) began initially as a compact. Later versions of the Camry grew to be considered mid-sized vehicles with wider bodies and increased passenger space. Its immediate predecessor was the Toyota Corona. The chief difference between the two models were rear wheel drive (Corona) and front wheel drive (Camry).
CAR SALES AND THE TOYOTA CAMRY
Today’s Camry, while far more advanced, has not strayed from the original Camry concept: basic, utilitarian, four-door sedans with little-to-no frills. During its narrow body compact car phase (1982 – 1989), the Camry chief rival was (and largely remains) the nearly-as-ubiquitous Honda Accord. Few trim levels were offered in the early-year models. A Camry was a Camry, in other words.
The 1987 model is considered the start of the second-generation Camry. Aimed at keeping pace with the Accord, the second generation Camry offered increased horsepower and the availability of All-Trac all-wheel drive, in addition to new trim levels.
As the Camry became more popular in America, so did the temptation to enhance its size to continue to whet the American appetite for larger vehicles. The 1992 model debuted with an increase in length, height, width and wheelbase. The Camry has remained a mid-sized vehicle since the 1992 redesign. The Camry followed a redesign pattern of every five years and saw new generation models released in 1997, 2002 and 2007.
The 2007 Camry got fresh sheet metal as well as a redesigned, roomier interior. A host of luxury options were added including navigation, heated seats, Bluetooth, faux wood grain trim and dual climate control. Technological updates include the introduction of a 268-hp V6 coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, and a new gasoline-electric hybrid model. The 2010 Camry received a refresh both inside and out, while the 2011 model remained virtually unchanged.
A new Camry was introduced in the 2012 model year. This model continues as the most current generation of the vehicle. For 2012, the Camry was improved in almost every way, with a handsome new exterior and more spacious interior. Both the 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines are upgraded to produce more power and a 6-speed automatic transmission was added to yield better fuel economy. Underneath, the suspension has been revamped to provide a more engaging driving experience.
For 2013, the Camry was refined even further with the addition of an optional blind spot monitoring system and a standard 6-inch central display screen. Model year 2014 introduced the SE Sport model and a standard rear-view mirror camera. Finally, for 2015, the Camry got new sheet metal and undated interior while the powertrain remained unchanged.
Who buys the Toyota Camry?
Toyota advertises the new model Camry as a “comfortable car.” “Familiar friend” might be a better descriptor as the Camry will pale in comparison to the comforts offered by more upscale models. The Camry is the quintessential fullback on your football team: If you need a yard, he’ll get you two. If you need three yards, he’ll get you two. The limitations of the Camry are apparent but it has never detracted from its appeal to those who need an affordable, reliable vehicle for small family transportation or economical commuting. Or both, as is often the case.
Camry buyers know that they’re not getting a sexy car that will impress their friends — nor will it incite envy in their enemies. Instead, Camry buyers expect to receive safe, reliable transportation at an attractive price point. This is the basis of the Camry and its longstanding worldwide success. Leveraging Toyota’s reputation for quality, Camrys retain value well — another attractive selling point for Camry buyers.
According to MotorTrend, the historically “family” sedan Camry underwent a significant demographic shift with the revamped 2012 model. The most recent generation Camry performs (some say unexpectedly) better in attracting younger buyers, taking a swipe away from Scion, the brand specifically aimed at younger buyers. Prior to the 2012 re-design, the most common profile of a Camry buyer was a mid-50s Baby Boomer. Today, the average age of a Camry buyer is about 10 years younger, with a lot of attention paid to the sporty SE trim level.