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Toyota Camry Information & History

The Toyota Camry is a popular midsize car manufactured by Toyota in Georgetown, Kentucky, USA; Australia; and Japan.

The United States is the Camry's biggest market, where it competes with the Honda Accord, the Nissan Altima, and the Ford Taurus. The Camry sells very well in USA, Australia and a number of Asian markets. It hasn't sold as well in Europe and Japan - many critize its design as ill-suited for European and Japanese tastes. In Japan and Asia, its main rivals are the Nissan Teana and the Honda Accord.

An upbranded luxury version of the Camry is sold under the Lexus ES 250, ES 300, and ES 330 nameplates in the United States. It is called the Windom in Japan.

The Camry name was first launched in 1980 with the Toyota Celica Camry. The first model line independently named the Toyota Camry was launched in 1982 for the 1983 model year. It is primarly configured as a four door sedan but at different times has also been available as a five door hatchback, two door coupé, and a station wagon. An offshoot of the Camry, the Camry Solara, has been available as a coupé and a convertible.

The Camry underwent major redesign and upgrades in model years 1987, 1992 (1990 in Japan), 1997, and 2002.

Other than the original Celica Camry, the Toyota Camry has always been an FF layout vehicle. This means the engine is transversely mounted to drive the front wheels. Some models have been offered with all wheel drive.

The second and third-generation Camrys were rebadged to be sold as the Holden Apollo in Australia. The Holden equivalents were not successful even though they came from the same factory as the Camry. Since 2000, Daihatsu has sold a Camry twin named the Altis.

Unlike most other cars, the Camry has a name that doesn't appear to mean anything.

Market

The Camry is consistently ranked as one of the most popular vehicles in the North American market. It is Toyota's bread-and-butter vehicle, so its marketing and sales strategy is cautious, aimed squarely at the center of buyer demographics. Most Camry buyers are not car enthusiasts.

The Camry is positioned directly below the Toyota Avalon and the Lexus ES 330 In its two largest markets, Australia and North America. It is considered a sub-luxury midsize sedan. The Camry is rarely optioned above the Avalon or ES 330, but a fully equipped Corolla slighlty overlaps with the base-model Camry.

The Camry is less popular in Europe, where the Camry is considered bland and incompatible with European driving habits. Toyota positions the Camry as a BMW 5-Series rival, yet it lacks the cachet to compete. Because there is no station wagon version for the fifth generation Camry, the Camry sedan and the Avensis station wagon are sold side by side in markets like New Zealand. The smaller, UK-built Avensis is preferred.

After the introduction of the fourth-generation Camry, sales in Japan dipped. Prior to the fourth-generation, Toyota adapted the Camry's design to suit Japanese tax laws and domestic market requirements. These versions of the Camry are bounded by a certain set of dimensions which would otherwise be unsuitable for export markets. These modified-for-Japan models were called the Vista.

For the fourth-generation Camry, Toyota decided to split the Vista from the Camry. Both models still share a large number of components, but the fourth-generation split was the more significant than the previous re-engineered splits. The Vista is sized according to domestic vehicle tax laws, and the Camry (now called the Camry Gracia) are not adapted, sold identical to foreign market cars. This put the Camry at a disadvantage as its size is placed at the lower-end of a higher tax category, which included cars such as the Crown and Aristo. Both arguably aimed at the higher-end of the market than the Camry. The introduction of the A32-series Nissan Cefiro in 1994 may have prompted Toyota to change its strategy, despite the poor sales of the Scepter, basically a RoW third-generation Camry, which was sold between 1992-1994 (only 4,885 units sold in total). The continued success of the Nissan Cefiro (and afterwards the Nissan Teana) meant that some customers are willing to pay extra taxes for a larger family car, and so this marketing strategy continued.

As of 2005, the Camry is produced at Toyota plants in Japan, Australia; and Georgetown, Kentucky, USA, with CKD assembly operations in Vietnam, Philippines; and Thailand. It is also assembled from CKD-kits at Toyota's local partners in Malaysia and Taiwan.

Current Competition

The Camry's perennial competitor, the Honda Accord, is often described as sportier and has traditionally been equipped with a few more performance-oriented options. North American sales figures between the Accord and the Camry are usually comparable, indicating that consumers in the Camry's target demographic are not necessarily interested in performance. In US, the most recent comparisons have placed the car against the Nissan Altima, Mitsubishi Galant, Mazda6, and the Chevrolet Malibu; and although the Camry isn't always the clear winner, it nevertheless remains a solid competitor.

Sales performance in Australasia and for most parts of Asia remain competitive against the Honda Accord, with the exception of China and Japan. In China, both the Nissan Teana and Honda Accord (some of Camry's main competitors) are produced locally, and hence have a price advantage against the imported Camry. In Japan, its only competitor is the Nissan Cefiro (and afterwards, the Nissan Teana), but Nissan consistently outsells Toyota in this market segment.

Model History

There is some dispute over the generational naming of the Toyota Camry. Most sources note the first generation Camry to have been produced as a 1983 model. A fewer number of sources state the first generation to have started in 1980 as a Toyota Celica Camry. This article follows the former convention.

Toyota Celica Camry (1980-1982)

Originally launched as the Toyota Celica Camry in January 1980 for the Japanese home market, this model was essentially a second-generation Toyota Carina with updated body-styling and a front-end that resembled a 1978 (first-generation) Toyota Celica XX (Known as Celica Supra in export markets).

The car used the rear wheel drive Celica platform (which was shared by both the Corona and Carina) and was powered by either a 1.6 L 12T-U engine producing 88 hp JIS (65 kW) and 128 N·m (94 ft·lbf) or a 1.8 L 13T-U engine producing 95 hp JIS (70 kW) and 147 N·m (108 ft·lbf). Towards the end of its model lifecycle, Toyota introduced a sports version of the Celica Camry equipped with the 16-valve DOHC 2.0 L engine from the Celica. This is the most sought after version of the Celica Camry in the secondhand market today.

Although it has an identical 2500 mm (98.4 in) wheelbase to the Celica, the Corona, and the Carina, it is longer than the Carina but shorter than both the Corona and Celica. During its model cycle, over 100,000 units were sold in Japan. The Celica Camry was also exported to a number of markets using the Carina's name, and it replaced the second-generation Carina in those markets.

First Generation (1983-1986)

In 1982 for the 1983 model year, the Camry became an independent model line, and was sold as a midsized four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. There were limited exports, predominantly to right-hand-drive markets. At this point, Camry was positioned above the Carina and Corona, two other mid-sized models made by Toyota. A twin was announced at this point: the Toyota Vista.

In North America, the Camry was available with a 92 hp SAE (68 kW) 2.0 L inline four-cylinder engine or a 74 hp 2.0 L inline four-cylinder turbo-Diesel engine, and could be purchased with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. In contrast to the rear-wheel-drive Celica Camry, the Toyota Camry was a front-wheel-drive vehicle built on an all-new platform.

The design of the first-generation Camry fit well within the box-shaped trends of the early 1980s. Additionally, the vehicle size and available options were characteristic of Japanese-designed cars of the time; the Camry was a small, inexpensive sedan with solid but spartan construction and competed indirectly against larger American counterparts.

Second Generation (1987-1991)

The second-generation model debuted in 1986 for the 1987 model year, and included a station wagon but dropped the hatchback. At this point, it was still regarded as a midsized car. In 1988, all wheel drive (called All-Trac) and a 160 hp JIS (118 kW) 2.5 L V6 engine were added as options for the first time. The V6 featured dual overhead camshafts, much like the upgraded 130 hp JIS (96 kW) 4 cylinder.

In 1991, antilock brakes became optional on the V6, LE, and wagon models.

The Kentucky plant also began producing Camrys in 1988, where three trim levels of second-generation Camry were made: the unbadged base model, the DX, and the LE. The 2.5 L engine and Camry chassis was repackaged as the upscale Lexus ES 250. The ES 250 was essentially the Japanese-market Camry hardtop.

The second-generation Camry was extremely popular in the United States and it is not at all uncommon to see examples on American roads.

Third Generation (1992-1996)

The third-generation Camry (first sold in 1990 in Japan; in the US as a 1992 model year car) is regarded as the first to break into the large-car market, or what Toyota billed at the time as "world-sized". This model marked the transition away from an inexpensive four door vehicle into a larger, more luxurious family sedan.

However, in Japan, the 1992 Camry was a different vehicle, which shared its doors and fenders with the exported model, but was limited to the 1700 mm (66.9 in) width required to fit into a lower tax bracket (the 'number 5' bracket). The wider export model was called the Toyota Scepter in its home market.

In the United States, automatic transmissions became the only options on all but the very base- and sport-model Camrys, whereas previously, manual transmissions were available on nearly all trim levels.

In that market, both the four and six-cylinder engines received upgrades in displacement and power: the four was upped to 2.2 L and 130 hp SAE (97 kW), and the V6 to 3.0 L and 185 hp SAE (137 kW). In addition to the DX (also sometimes called Deluxe) and LE trims, 1992 saw the addition of an XLE luxury trim and the SE sport trim-presumably introduced to compete with the Nissan Maxima SE.

Some other countries followed the 2.2 L and 3.0 L engine choice. Toyota in New Zealand sold these models as the 220 and V6 respectively, the smaller-engined car filling the gap of the departed Corona.

It shared the rounded-body-panel look of many imports of similar vintage: the Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima, to name a few. This was a departure from the second-generation models which, although they had many more rounded panels than the first-generation Camrys, were nevertheless generally slab-sided in shape. The third-generation Camrys had rounded features and a very curved silhouette.

The Vista continued in parallel, available in addition as a hardtop sedan. This is a similar car to the then new Windom, which formed the basis of the Lexus ES 300 in foreign markets, equipped with a 3.0 L V6 engine.

In 1994, Toyota released a two door version of the Camry with styling very similar to the four door version. This vehicle would be dropped for the next generation, although it would later be replaced by the Camry Solara (discussed below).

The same year, the Japanese home market saw a revised, 1700 mm wide Camry and Vista, with different sheetmetal, on the same platform. (The Japanese version of this page lists this as a 'fifth-generation' model.)

The third-generation Camry was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1992 and 1993.

Australia

In Australia, the Camry 4-cylinder models consisted of the Executive, CSI and Ultima sedan models (automatic only). The V6 range was known as the Camry Vienta and also consisted of the Executive, CSI and Ultima sedan model. The Camry Vientas were avaliable in automatic transmission only. In 1993, a new sedan model called the Touring Series was launched which was fitted with sports suspension. In 1994, the range was revised slightly, where the Executive models was renamed CSI and the CSI was renamed the CSX model.

In July 1995, the facelifted model was launched in Australia and was now built at the new Altona plant. The 4 cylinder range consisted of the CSI and CSX models. The V6 models were simply known as the Vienta. The Ultima sedan was renamed the Grande model, and manual transmission was now avaliable in the CSI and Touring Series sedan models. Towards the end of the model run, limited edition Getaway and Intrigue sedan models were launched.

Fourth Generation (1997-2001)

The fourth-generation Camry was launched in Japan in December 1996. It continued as a sedan and station wagon (called the Camry Gracia in Japan), though the latter model was not sold in the United States. This generation was launched in the US for the 1997 model year. In 2000, the sedan models received a mid-model upgrade to the front and rear fascias, but remained otherwise similar to the 1999 models. The Japanese Scepter ceased to exist as the Japanese Camrys adopted the 1795 mm wide platform.

The Vista began departing from the Camry, remaining 1700 mm wide and eventually forming the basis of the growing Corolla. In addition, the Vista's sheet metal resembled a tall, formal sedan, while the Camry became sleeker. This "split" continues today.

The Lexus ES 300 was again built from the Windom, which uses the Camry chassis.

The Camry Solara was added in both coupé and convertible form in 1999. In contrast to the third-generation Camry two door, the Camry Solara was a significant styling departure from the four door.

In the United States, the SE was dropped and the base model was renamed the CE for the 1998 model year. Both the LE and the XLE trims were carried over from the previous generation. The Solara was available in SE and SLE trim, corresponding roughly to the sedan's LE and XLE trims. The XLE was available with either the four-cylinder or V6 engine, although the Solara SLE was available only with the V6.

Power was increased slightly to 133 hp SAE (99 kW) for the 5S-FE 2.2 L inline-four and 194 hp SAE (145 kW) for the 1MZ-FE V6. Manual transmissions were only available on the CE trim level and any Solara model.

This was the first Camry to be sold as a Daihatsu. The Daihatsu Altis was identical to the export version of the Camry.

The Camry V6 was again on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1997.

Australia

In Australia, unlike the previous generation, the nameplate Camry was also applied to the V6 variants, while the Vienta V6 range was revised as the "upmarket" models. The line-up of 4 cylinder Camry models consisted of the CSI, Conquest and CSX models (automatic transmission only), all three variants were avaliable in sedan or wagon. The Camry V6 models consisted of CSI and Conquest, with the wagon models only avaliable in automatic transmission. The Camry V6 Touring Series sedan model was launched in March 1999. The Vienta line up consisted of VXI and Grande sedan models and the VXI wagon. The VXI model was basically a V6 version of the 4 cylinder Camry CSX model.

In September 2000, the revised Camry range was launched. The Vienta V6 range was discontinued due to the launch of the Avalon sedan in July 2000 and two new models were added to the Camry range: the top-of-the-range Azura V6 sedan and the Touring Series V6 sportswagon model, both of which were avaliable in automatic transmission only. Towards the end of the model run, the limited edition Intrigue and Advantage sedan models were launched.

Fifth Generation (2002-Present)

In September 2001, the latest Toyota Camry was released as a larger sedan (taking styling cues from the successful Vitz, Corolla and Solara coupé) only, but without a station wagon for the first time. This model was launched in most export markets, including the United States, as a 2002 model year car.

The styling of the fifth-generation Camry is somewhat similar to the fourth-generation model in that both have gently curved surfaces accented by sharp creases. However, the front end of the car is relatively short, leaving a great deal of the length to the cabin, a technique adopted by compact cars. In contrast to the fairly squat fourth-generation Camry, the fifth generation is a decidedly tall vehicle. It is 2.5 in (64 mm) taller and has a 2 in (51 mm) longer wheelbase than the previous model.

In the United States for 2002, the base CE model was dropped but the SE sport model was reintroduced. Both the LE and SE models are available with a manual transmission when equipped with the four cylinder engine now up to 2.4 L and 163 hp (122 kW). Any model may be equipped with a V6 or an automatic transmission, although the manual transmission is not available on V6 models.

In late 2004, the 2005 Camry was introduced with new upgrades such as a stylish chrome grille (though the SE has a sportier grille), a new taillight design, and new wheels. A new trim level was added (the standard model) priced lower than the Camry LE. Interior upgrades to the Camry included a rear center head restraint, a storage bin in the door, optitron gauges, and standard leather seating on XLE V6 models.

Daihatsu continued with its twin Altis model for Japan only.

Australia

In Australia, the 2002 Camry is available in four different trims: the Altise, Ateva, Sportivo and Azura, . The Altise, Ateva, and Sportivo are available with either the 2.4 L VVTi four cylinder or the V6 engine, and the Azura was only avaliable in V6. Only the Altise and Sportivo models may be fitted with a manual transmission-all other models are equipped with an automatic transmission. In 2003, the V6 Altise Sport model was introduced, which is basically the Altise model with the sports suspension that was fitted on the Sportivo and Azura models and was avaliable in manual and automatic trasmission. The Australian Camry Sportivo corresponds roughly to the American Camry SE.

The Australian models were significantly different from the other Camry models around the world and had around 77% locally developed components to suit Australian roads and driving conditions. The brakes, body panels (which would only fit on the Australian made body and chassis), headlights, seats and suspension were all locally developed after 10000kms of extensive testing in Australia under the supervision of Toyota engineers. Power output on the Altise Sport, V6 Sportivo and Azura models was 145 kW (194 hp) compared with the 141 kW (189 hp) of the standard V6 models due to the variable back pressure exhaust system that boosts low-down torque and top-end power.

When the revised range was launched in Australia in September 2004, the Grande model was reintroduced which together with the Azura model, were the top-of-the-range models. The Grande however was fitted with the standard suspension rather than the sports suspension as fitted on the Azura model. The Grande and Azura models were the first Toyota models in Australia to be fitted with the new Toyota Link system. The Toyota Link system is a state-of-the-art satellite and mobile SMS GSM communications system that gives the driver access to roadside assistance and emergency help via the electrochromatic rear view mirror. In August 2005 the Altise Sport model was reintroduced (V6 auto only) together with Altise Limited (four-cylinder and V6) that replaced the Altise and has additional features.

Camry HV Hybrid

For 2006, Toyota will create a hybrid gas/electric Camry when it is redesigned as the 2007 Toyota Camry called the Camry HV. It will use a Hybrid Synergy Drive setup similar to that of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 400h, which mates Toyota's 3MZ V6 with an electric motor. The Camry HV will be built at the company's Georgetown, Kentucky plant, with about 48,000 projected per year.



This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from articles at Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia

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Year Range: 1997 - 2001
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