Toyota wants to keep Camry as US leader for 2014 as well image

The model, headed for a 12th straight year as the best-selling U.S. car, will get “significant attention” including freshened features to hold the title a 13th year, the brand’s U.S. sales chief said.

Tighter competition in 2014, as Ford boosts Fusion production and Hyundai Motor Co. adds a reworked Sonata, doesn’t guarantee Camry will be knocked from its perch, said Bill Fay, group vice president of the Toyota brand. The Camry leads its closest rival, Honda’s Accord, by more than 40,000 units through October this year, far ahead of Nissan’s Altima and Ford’s revamped Fusion sedan.

“There were some who wanted to write Camry off this year, and it didn’t happen,” Fay said yesterday in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “We’ll make some effort through the collective team to keep it No. 1 next year.”

As Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, battles Camry challengers and the best vehicles from U.S.-based competitors in a generation, the company is targeting its highest U.S. sales in as long as six years. Demand for new cars and trucks, a bright spot for the U.S. economy, remains robust as the year winds down, Fay said.

Fay declined to elaborate on changes the company is considering for the current Camry, released in 2011 as a 2012 model.

“It’s safe to say we’ll be doing something with it,” he said. “We’ll be paying significant attention to Camry next year.”

Additionally, Toyota expects to sell as many as 240,000 Prius hybrids this year, a record for the U.S., yet shy of an initial goal of 250,000 set in January by Jim Lentz, the company’s North American chief executive officer.

Via Bloomberg