July 18, 2013

Rivals gain ground on the Camry

Toyota cuts prices on the nation's top-selling car after sales fell 2% in the past six months.

The Associated Press

DETROIT - America's top-selling car is in danger of losing its title.

Toyota's Camry has been No. 1 for more than a decade, but the company is stretching to keep it there with price cuts, rebates and lease deals.

Camry sales fell 2 percent from January through June. Meanwhile, its main rivals in the midsize car market -- the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion -- posted big gains. The hot-selling Accord trailed Camry in sales by 21,000 at the end of June. Last year at this time the gap was 59,000.

Toyota has raised discounts and cut the price in an effort to keep Camry on top. In early July, the Camry's average sales price was the lowest of the nine top-selling midsize cars, according to data from J.D. Power and Associates obtained by The Associated Press.

Camry has lost style points, literally. While the car's ultra-conservative design appeals to many loyal Toyota buyers who favor basic transportation, others are defecting to the sportier Accord, Fusion and Altima, industry analysts say. Those cars also have more features and better performance, they say.

"Although the Camry is not that old, it certainly seems older than the rest," said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for the Edmunds.com automotive website.

Through June, Toyota had sold 207,626 Camrys. But Accord sales rose 21 percent during the same period to 186,860. Altima sales gained nearly 8 percent to 167,787, while Fusion sales rose nearly 19 percent to 161,146.

 

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