Could the Camry suffer the same fate as the Ford Fusion?
The Toyota Camry was the automaker's best-selling car in the US for 16 years, but clearly it appears times are changing. According to Bloomberg, a Toyota spokesperson confirmed it intends to slow down Camry production at its Kentucky assembly plant starting next month. This is the same facility that builds the larger Avalon and Lexus ES sedans as well. "The auto industry is cyclical, and our normal process is to proactively plan months in advance for volume adjustments," the spokesman said. So why the slowdown?
Because of a drop in Camry sales. Through October of this year, Toyota sold 289,000 Camrys in the US. That may sound like a lot but it's actually a 6.1 percent drop from the same period in 2017.
This decreased demand comes even after Toyota dramatically redesigned the Camry with fresh styling and an all-new attitude. Instead of buying a new Camry, customers have been shopping around and the Honda Accord, the Camry's longtime competitor, has snatched some sales. However, Toyota's own SUVs and crossovers, specifically the RAV4, have also dinged Camry sales. The RAV4 is now Toyota's number one seller.
Like many other previously popular sedans, like the Ford Fusion, the Toyota Camry is losing ground to SUVs and crossovers. But not all is lost for the Camry. Just one of three of those Camry production lines will see reduced production beginning in December.
However, this could be a troubling sign of things to come and that's really a shame in the case of the Camry. Not only has it been an American family sedan staple for years, but the latest generation has finally become the Camry we've long wanted. It's fun to drive and boasts the same high quality it's long been known for. In fact, competitors, specifically Mazda, are now benchmarking the Camry instead of some BMWs.
Given the fact Camry sales have been falling for several months now, it wouldn't be wrong to predict at this point for this trend to continue. Could the Toyota Camry eventually suffer the same fate as the Ford Fusion, which will exit the US market in 2020? Hopefully not, and Toyota has no intention of letting its beloved Camry go down without a fight.