Toyota aims for 400,000 Camry sold in the US in 2013 image

With 2013 the 12th straight year the Japanese automaker midsize sedan is the most popular car in the U.S., Toyota is on track to sell more than 400, 000 Camrys this year.

This year, the Japanese automaker expects its U.S. sales will top 2.25 million cars and trucks, up 8% from last year.

“(Camry) will probably be the only car that sells over 400,000,” said Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota division. “We are very comfortable and happy with our results for the year.”

But to keep Camry No. 1, Toyota had to spend more on rebates, discounted financing and other sales incentives. On average, Toyota’s incentives are below the industry average, but incentive costs for Camrys have crept upward. This is because the car is in the third year of its life-cycle and faces ever increasing competition.

In November, the average incentive on a new Camry was $2,421, according to Edmunds.com. That’s just under the $2,460 for the new Ford Fusion and $2,665 for the Dodge Avenger.

“It is unusual for us to be at that segment average, I give you that,” said Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations.

This year, Fay said, Camry underperformed because it is in a segment that has intense competition from midsize crossovers and pickups. Next year, competition for the Camry could get even tougher as Hyundai launches a redesigned Sonata and Chrysler introduces an all-new Chrysler 200. Ford faced production constraints for the Fusion until late summer when its Flat Rock plant began building additional cars.

“We are taking a good look at it to see what we need to do from an advertising and promotional standpoint, and a packaging to continue the momentum,” Fay said. “There are some things that we can do next year to keep it very competitive and where we would like to be, which is the top-selling car.”

Fay said there are no major changes planned for Camry next year, but alluded to minor freshening of certain features.