Toyota Improves Camry Crashworthiness


Following a dismal showing by the Toyota Camry in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's challenging small-overlap frontal crash test, Toyota has improved the sedan's structural protection to receive an acceptable score in the test. IIHS crash-test scores are poor, marginal, acceptable and good. The latest IIHS small-overlap scores (above) reflect major improvements in the Camry's crash structure, as well as the amount of movement from crash-test dummies during the test.

Toyota Promises Camry Safety Fix

However, the improvements come to 2014 Camry sedans built in mid-December and later. How can you tell them apart? In a rare move — IIHS spokesman Russ Rader said he has "not seen this before" — Toyota said it would label each updated Camry as a 2014.5 model year on its Monroney window sticker.

By Kelsey Mays | January 8, 2014 | Comments (5)

The Top 10 Best-Selling Cars of 2013


Even as 2013 cars sales stalled a bit in December, new-car sales overall still landed around 15.6 million units for the year. That's up 8 percent over 2012, and it marks the best sales since 2007. If 2014 sees similar gains, the experts are right: Happy days for the industry will be here again.

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: December 2013

Does that mean happy days for the consumer? Yes, but with caveats. Even as discounts edged upward, ballooning MSRPs sent transaction prices to nearly $33,000 per car by December, according to CNW Marketing Research. Compare that to all of 2012, when transactions averaged as low as $30,184 at the beginning of the year. New cars got pricier, yet shoppers still bought them.

By Kelsey Mays | January 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: December 2013


With the top seven automakers reporting sales, the industry is on track to end December 2013 about flat with December 2012. Don't call it a sputter just yet. Recall that December 2012 was a decent month — and that 2013 still ended well. Toward that end, each automaker charted its own course to the finish line.

The Top 10 Best-Selling Cars of 2013

Shoppers gave Toyota the indifferent shoulder as the automaker fell 1.7 percent in December. Three of Toyota's four best-sellers — the Camry, Corolla/Matrix, RAV4 and Prius family — saw lower sales versus year-ago figures. Nissan, by contrast, chalked a 10.5 percent rise on strong Sentra and Rogue sales. And Honda gained 1.9 percent in December as dealers began the month with Accords and CR-Vs aplenty, and shoppers lined up for both. Despite a similar inventory situation, however, the Civic fell 12.4 percent.

By Kelsey Mays | January 3, 2014 | Comments (7)

Toyota Promises Camry Safety Fix


We already know that Toyota is planning to update its midsize sedan for the 2015 model year, and now we know why. The Detroit News is reporting that the automaker plans to change its best-selling sedan to address the Camry's poor crash test scores.

The 2013 Camry failed the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's newest and toughest test, the small front overlap crash, receiving a poor rating. However, Bill Fay, head of the Toyota division in the United States, stressed that the sedan is still an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Cars need to score good in the conventional front, side, rear and roof-strength tests to earn the Top Safety Pick designation, but have to pull in an acceptable or better in the small front overlap test to get the new Top Safety Pick Plus award.

By Jennifer Geiger | December 11, 2013 | Comments (8)

Camry, Impala Top Most-Stolen List


Among midsize and large cars, the Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Impala proved most popular among thieves, according to a new report from the crime-stats crunchers at the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Ill. The report is based on National Crime Information Center vehicle-theft records for a period spanning Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2012, and limited to the 2010, 2011 and 2012 model years. Researchers culled the top 10 list from the 16 makes and 20 models of the midsize class, and the nine makes and 10 models of the large-vehicle class.

During the counting period, a total of 31,586 vehicles were stolen from both car classes combined, with the midsize group comprising the vast majority, with 22,090 thefts, or 70 percent.

The top 10 large/midsize vehicle thefts by make and model are:

By Matt Schmitz | December 5, 2013 | Comments (7)

Does the 2013 Toyota Camry SE Have an Upgraded Stereo?

"I noticed the XLE trim has the JBL stereo. What does that mean?"

John N.

By Rick Popely | November 30, 2013 | Comments (1)

Toyota Plans Updated Camry Next Year


Expect significant updates to the Toyota Camry in what's likely to be a 2015 model-year freshening. That's what Bill Fay, Toyota division's general manager, told the Detroit News at this month's 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The seventh-generation Camry hit dealers in October 2011 as a 2012 model. Since then, it's faced stiff competition from a redesigned Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. Chevrolet tweaked the Malibu after a less-than-stellar 2013 redesign, and Hyundai will debut a 2015 Sonata — either a redesign or major refresh — sometime this auto-show season.

Still, the Camry has maintained a comfortable sales lead. Shoppers bought 348,134 Camry and Camry Hybrid sedans year-to-date through October. The next-highest Accord fell short by 40,870 — and that counts sedan and coupe sales, which Honda reports under as a single figure.

By Kelsey Mays | November 27, 2013 | Comments (10)

2013 Toyota Camry: Family Review Checklist


The Toyota Camry is known for making easy work of family duty, but I couldn't muster much excitement when the 2013 Camry arrived for a weeklong test drive. However, I warmed up to the Camry during my test drive much more than I thought I would, and I'll freely admit that it was a competent workhorse for my family of three.

Part of what I liked so much about the Camry is my family wasn't late on arrival a single time thanks to Toyota's Entune App Suite multimedia system, which runs apps streamed from a compatible smartphone. I used the Entune smartphone app to do an internet search before I got in the car, and by the time everybody was buckled in, the app had the location waiting for us in the car. What could be better for a harried parent?

My test Camry SE had a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that helped me come around to this midsize sedan; this sportier version of the ultimate grocery getter has a firmer ride, which was a shock since most Toyotas I've driven felt a lot sleepier during my commutes to Gymboree. With the V-6, the Camry gets an EPA-estimated 21/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined. With my 70/30 split of city/highway driving, I considered my 22.7 mpg average for the week a win.

By Carrie Kim | November 8, 2013 | Comments (5)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: October 2013


As experts largely predicted, car shoppers shook off any hesitation from the federal government shutdown and bought enough new cars in the second half of October to drive the auto industry up about 11 percent by Halloween, judging by numbers from the largest seven automakers.

The Detroit Three led the pack, with sales up 13.9 percent. Nissan, Toyota and Honda gained 9.5 percent, while Hyundai-Kia were nearly flat with a 0.6 percent increase.

"Consumers showed resiliency in October with steady auto sales despite headwinds caused by the government shutdown," Toyota division GM Bill Fay said in a statement. Sales for the automaker's best-selling Camry ebbed, but a redesigned Corolla lifted Toyota's numbers. Honda saw a larger boom in the Civic, while shoppers shied away from the Accord; both cars had a strong October 2012. Nissan's popular Altima, meanwhile, fell 11.5 percent.

By Kelsey Mays | November 1, 2013 | Comments (11)

Jury Finds 'Reckless Disregard' in Toyota Unintended-Acceleration Death


Following a California court victory earlier this month that Toyota had hoped would be a good omen in its unintended-acceleration debacle, a jury in Oklahoma City on Thursday found the automaker liable for the death of one woman and the serious injury of another in a 2007 crash. According to the Los Angeles Times, the jury ordered Toyota to pay $3 million in compensatory damages to both victims' families, with unspecified punitive damages still to come based on the jury's finding that the automaker exhibited "reckless disregard" in its response to a faulty electronic throttle system.

By Matt Schmitz | October 25, 2013 | Comments (3)

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