Did you know there are waiting lists for the 2018 Camry XSE with two-tone paint? And that the Camry’s share has increased 5 percentage points so far in 2018? Are you surprised that Toyota is quite happy to stay in the sedan market while the American Big Three drop out one-by-one? I didn’t know that about the first, I’m not at all surprised about the second, and I already predicted the third.
Toyota’s roots and global business is still very much in sedans, although of course they’re shifting production to more trucks too. The Corolla is the world’s best selling passenger car globally, and its latest generation (above) arrives here shortly with a big push towards younger buyers. And Toyota’s complete redesign of the Camry is paying off. And Toyota’s well established dominance of hybrids like the Prius are a key part of their portfolio.
The Big Three are in the process of their final capitulation of the passenger car business to Toyota and other import brands, and will remain as truck makers and a few specialty cars and SUVs. It all started a long time ago, and now it’s in the final stages. Who could have predicted that in 1970? or 1980?
Toyota of USA CEO Jim Lenz says: that Toyota will remain a “full-line manufacturer” even as some competitors throw in the towel. “If you look at some of the really critical segments — midsize passenger car, compact passenger car — those are [almost] 2-million-plus-a-year segments, so we have no desire to back out of segments,”
Toyota execs claim that U.S. consumers are leaving sedans in part because the cars haven’t been getting the investment they need to remain attractive. They point to the higher sales of the redesigned 2018 Camry as proof. Camry sales rose 2 percent in the first five months of this year. It’s the only one of the 10 top-selling midsize cars to post an increase in 2018. The rest of the segment is down 21 percent.
But not to be left behind in trucks, Toyota is increasing capacity for both its Tacoma and Tundra pickups, and an all-new RAV4 debuts this fall. The RAV4 has been the best selling non-pickup vehicle in recent months.