Friday, February 23, 2018
Business

Toyota fights to keep Camry America's best-selling car

DETROIT — America's top-selling car is in danger of losing its title.

Toyota's Camry has been No. 1 for more than a decade, but the company is stretching to keep it there with price cuts, rebates and lease deals.

Camry sales fell 2 percent from January through June. Meanwhile, its main rivals in the midsize market — Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion — posted big gains.

The hot-selling Accord trailed Camry in sales by 21,000 at the end of June. Last year at this time, the gap was 59,000.

Toyota has raised discounts and cut the price in an effort to keep Camry on top. In early July, the Camry's average sales price ($20,900) was the lowest of the nine top-selling midsize cars, according to data from J.D. Power and Associates. Discounts on the Camry, such as rebates and sweet lease deals, were among the highest in the segment, according to the data.

Camry has lost style points, literally. While the car's ultra-conservative design appeals to many loyal Toyota buyers who favor basic transportation, others are defecting to the sportier Accord, Fusion and Altima, industry analysts say. Those cars also have more features and better performance, they say.

"Although the Camry is not that old, it certainly seems older than the rest," said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for the Edmunds.com automotive website.

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