Toyota Looks to Reinvigorate Camry for Sporty-Minded Buyers
Could a Camry ever be sporty enough for you?
With sedan sales in a slump amidst a truck- and crossover-loving U.S. market, Toyota is looking to add some spice to its stalwart Camry model. According to Automotive News, the brand recently challenged its designers to come up with a unique spin on the current generation four-door that should stand out to the typical customer. The team of engineers came up with a sporty-looking Camry tester in effort to set it apart from other sedans in the segment.
One demographic that Toyota says it feels it's been missing with its Camry is performance-oriented buyers. Considering that sedan has more roots in practicality than motorsport pedigree, it's fair to say few would argue with that statement. In a world where 325-horsepower Ford Fusions exist and Toyota fights to stay relevant in discussion, the brand is seeking to nip the problem in the bud. To fix the issue, the crew came up with a sportier-looking S model.
Testers were asked to determine the difference between the new go-fast model and the regular, more sedate Camry. Studies show that typical buyers tend to view cars on the lot in passing by at a 200-yard distance, so the differences had to be significant enough to distinguish from that distance.
Although that may all seem a bit gimmicky, Toyota is fighting hard to reinvent the sedan category and differentiate the Camry from its competitors. “There’s nothing pushing people into sedans," Toyota official Jack Hollis told AN. "It’s a perfect time to start fresh, from scratch, lead the industry, lead the sedan segment.”
The marque is also reportedly looking into new hybrid powertrains for the model, ones that will promote both speed and fuel economy as opposed to just the latter. Toyota says the assist of electric motors could improve the way that the Camry delivers power, providing customers with a quicker car than the current 306-horsepower V6. A new hybrid model could also offer changeable suspension settings, creating a sportier feel when behind the wheel.
Conclusively, Toyota wants to make the Camry a car that can appeal to everyone. By offering it in several different trims and powertrain layouts, it could serve well to both common commuters and driving enthusiasts. Camry chief engineer Masato Katsumata says some "don’t want a pure sports car”—and by giving them plenty of options to play with, the Camry could reclaim its spot atop the mid-size sedan segment.