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TOYOTA LOOKS TO CONTINUE ITS SEDAN SEGMENT DOMINANCE WITH THE 2012 CAMRY

 

By Linda Sharp

 

Perhaps no other Toyota is as ingrained into American culture as the venerable Camry. It first entered the American market in 1983. A true testament to Toyota quality, 90% of all Camry’s built remain on the road today. The first American assembled Camry rolled off the line in Toyota’s Georgetown, KY plant in 1987. Today's 7th generation Camry's continue to come from the Georgetown facility, as well as the Subaru Indiana Automotive plant in Lafayette, IN.

However, those early Camrys were much different than the refined 7th generation that was presented to GAAMA members.  That 1st generation compact Camry has evolved into a luxurious mid-sized sedan, with a list of features and amenities that meet most any customer's wants and desires. Not only is the vehicle assembled in the US, much of the content is US based as well: North American Content a. 92% (gas), b. 59% (hybrid), c. 89% (combined).

Toyota's vision for the 2012 Camry is all inclusive as they present the Camry as a standard mid-sized sedan, and they intend for it to maintain it's #1 standing as the best selling sedan in the US. The Camry has been designed to offer best in class safety features, and available class leading fuel economy (4 cylinder is rated at 35 mpg hwy, the hybrid is rated at 43 mpg hwy). With a new clean, sporty exterior Toyota looks to attract younger buyers to the Camry line up.

Working to attract a larger customer base to the all ready top selling Camry, Toyota has focused on improved stability and handling capabilities, class leading noise vehicle performance, a greatly improved interior and of course Toyota's long standing commitment to class leading value.

Much of the refinements that Camry buyers will find have been a result of trickle down technologies learned from the Lexus brand, specifically from the ISF and the LS. Perhaps the most notable of those technologies is the Camry's six speed automatic. All 7th generation Camrys, both 4 cylinder and V6s will be equipped with the 6 speed. If you are a manual transmission fan, the presence of a quick shifting steering wheel mounted paddle shifter is now your option.

One can also see a Lexus like tone to the interior appointments. In our SE test vehicle, you couldn't help but notice elegant seam stitching that highlighted an upgraded dash covering. Seat covers are more youthful and sporty in appearance.We found that during our time spent in the Camry, the interior was whisper quiet.

Camry buyers will have a full line of trim levels to chose from: 1. Camry's Exceptional value, 2. Camry's Core grade/comfort and value, 3. Camry's Sporty and stylish, 4. Camry's Premium grade. As well as the soon to be released (early 2012) Camry Hybrid which will be offered in two trim levels:

 A. Hybrid LE

1) Includes premium content over standard LE (gas) model

a) Dual zone automatic climate control

b) Smart Key System

c) Optitron meters

 B. Hybrid XLE Premium grade hybrid

To guarantee efficient reliable performance Toyota carries over the same 4 and 6 cylinder engines. But working hard to enhance fuel economy, the overall weight of the vehicle has been reduced. Additionally, the new Camry has an increased lockup torque converter operation, which by extending the lockup range to include low throttle opening and low vehicle speeds, engine speed during normal driving has been decreased. The lockup range also been expanded to high throttle opening amounts, decreasing engine rev speed when accelerating. If this all sounds really high tech, it is. It's just another example of Toyota engineering chasing fuel economy.

The 2012 Camry rides on a new low-rolling resistance tire that reduces resistance by 10%, as a result of an improved design and an increase in recommended tire pressure.

 Of course the 2012 Camry could not in good conscience call itself a Toyota, if it did not offer real value. The L starts at $21,955, the LE at $ 22,500, the SE at $23,000 and the XLE at $24,725.  The Hybrids are expected to come in at $800 less than the 2011 hybrid.

 Bottom line, the Toyota Camry has been the bestselling sedan in America for 13 of the last 14 years. With new features, a sportier, more youthful look and best of all, lower prices, we expect for them to continue that dominance in the segment with the 2012 Camry.

 

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2012 Toyota Camry