DETROIT – Toyota will not relinquish the Camrys spot as Americas most popular car this year, a top executive told industry analysts Tuesday.
Senior Vice President Bob Carter said Toyota will sell more than 400,000 of the midsize cars in 2013, enough to fend off a challenge from the Honda Accord and other models in the most competitive part of the U.S. auto market.
The Camry has been Americas top-selling car for 11 straight years, but recent new cars from Honda, Ford, Nissan and others have chipped into its lead. Carter said its important to Toyota that the Camry remain No. 1.
The midsize sedan market is the largest segment in the industry, and we want Toyota to be Americas favorite car – period, he said.
Carter conceded that Toyota has raised discounts on the car to keep sales strong amid intense competition but said most other automakers offer even higher incentives.
Camry sales fell 2 percent from January through June as its main rivals, the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, posted big sales gains. In the first half of the year, the hot-selling Accord trailed Camry in sales by just 21,000, closing a gap that was 59,000 a year earlier.
Toyota responded with discounts on the Camry, and its average price of just over $20,900 in early July was the lowest of nine top-selling midsize cars.