Rivalry for Top U.S. Selling Car Heats Up

Detroit Free Press

The Cam­ry has been America’s top-sell­ing car for 11 straight years, and Toy­ota has no inten­tion of los­ing the title as it fends off Ford, Hon­da and Nis­san in the field.

Get the low­down on the Toy­ota Cam­ry sales per­for­mance past and present.

Toy­ota will not relin­quish the Cam­ry spot as America’s most pop­u­lar car this year, a top exec­u­tive told indus­try ana­lysts Tues­day.

Senior Vice Pres­i­dent Bob Carter said the com­pa­ny will sell more than 400,000 of the mid­size cars in 2013, enough to fend off a chal­lenge from the Hon­da Accord and oth­er mod­els in the most com­pet­i­tive part of the U.S. auto mar­ket.

The Cam­ry has been America’s top-sell­ing car for 11 straight years, but recent new cars from Hon­da, Ford, Nis­san and oth­ers have chipped into its lead. Carter said it’s impor­tant to Toy­ota that the Cam­ry remain No. 1.

“The mid­size sedan mar­ket is the largest seg­ment in the indus­try, and we want Toy­ota to be America’s favorite car — peri­od,” he said at the J.P. Mor­gan Auto Con­fer­ence in New York.

Carter con­ced­ed that Toy­ota has raised dis­counts on the car in an effort to keep sales strong amid intense com­pe­ti­tion but said most oth­er automak­ers offer even high­er incen­tives.

Cam­ry sales fell 2% from Jan­u­ary through June as its main rivals, the Hon­da Accord, Nis­san Alti­ma and Ford Fusion, post­ed big sales gains. In the first half of the year, the hot-sell­ing Accord trailed Cam­ry in sales by only 21,000, clos­ing a gap that was 59,000 a year ear­li­er.

Toy­ota respond­ed with dis­counts on the Cam­ry. Its aver­age sales price of just over $20,900 in ear­ly July was the low­est of nine top-sell­ing mid­size cars, accord­ing to data from J.D. Pow­er and Asso­ciates.

As a result, Cam­ry sales grew 16% last month to more than 242,000 for the first sev­en months of the year. The increase widened Camry’s lead over the Accord to more than 24,000. The third-place Alti­ma was 45,000 behind Cam­ry, while Ford’s Fusion was fourth, near­ly 61,000 below Cam­ry.

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