Toyota Increases Discounts for Camry After February Sales Drop image

Toyota ‘s Camry sedan sales fell 9.5% in February, after being the top-selling vehicle in the US for 11 years.

In February sales of the Camry sedan dropped 9.5%, the biggest fall in 16 months, making the automaker’s shares grow only half of analysts’ estimates. These results show that even if Toyota managed to regain the top spot as the world’s largest automaker last year, the company still has to face tough competition, such as the Ford Fusion or Nissan Altima, both offered big discounts last month.

“It’s a lot tougher for Camry to maintain the level of dominance that we saw last year,” Alec Gutierrez, analyst for Kelley Blue Book, in Irvine, California. “To maintain its dominant position, Toyota’s going to have to look carefully at its incentive approach.”

For Toyota’s entire lineup, prices were with 5.9% higher compared with February 2012, which represents the biggest increase seen at any other automaker and the industry’s average of 1.2%, according to TrueCar. Last week Toyota came with a new strategy: no-interest financing on the 2013 Camry.

From all four best-selling sedans last month, Camry was the second with the lowest incentives at $1,505 per car, compared with Nissan’s Altima which offered $260 more, Ford Fusion with $650 more and Honda Accord with $567 more. Last month Accord sales increased 35% and in January Camry’s lead over the Accord was slightly under 2,000 units, but the Civic outsold the Camry, 33,118 units to 31,407 units.