Rivalry for Top U.S. Selling Car Heats Up

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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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