Report: 2012 Toyota Camry Needed to Fight Hyundai Sonata

Once a venerable nameplate in the midsize sedan segment, Toyota is at risk of losing its sales-king crown to Korean automaker Hyundai. According to Bloomberg, Toyota sales stand to suffer unless the new 2012 Camry can steal back market share from the Hyundai Sonata.

The Toyota Camry has long been one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. market, but found a new challenger when the 2011 Hyundai Sonata bowed in early 2010. The Sonata offers eye-catching design, high fuel-economy ratings, and affordable prices that pose serious competition to the Camry. That has some Toyota executives and analysts worried that the Sonata will grab a big chunk of the Camry’s market share. The last major revision to the Camry came in 2006 and an all-new version will bow later this year.

Sales of the Camry last year far outpaced the Sonata. In 2010, the Hyundai Sonata tallied 196,623 sales compared to the Toyota Camry’s 327,804 units. However, Hyundai is catching up: in the first six months of 2011, Hyundai sold 115,014 Sonatas, while Toyota sold 147,469 Camrys. Production of the Camry slowed significantly in the wake of Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Moreover, Toyota’s once-solid reputation for quality was shaken by global recalls related to claims of unintended acceleration.

The 2012 Camry will debut later this year and must be significantly improved if it is to continue fighting the Sonata. Toyota has been fairly cryptic on the subject, previously confirming that the car would “meet the changing needs of the 21st century driver.” CEO Akio Toyoda also appeared in a brief video promising that the 2012 model is “the best Camry ever.”

Source: Bloomberg

now you are going to far stop at the sonata accord dont even put the bmw s in the same place as the camry . im in the car business and i driven all cars and if you just want a car thats reliable look at accord and camry .if you want a drivers car give me a german car nothing drives like a bmw audi benz porsche if you cant afford any of those cars go vw cc gti . yes a little less reliable but its worth it .my family drives nothing but vw bmw and audi after driving a german car for years i get into a camry or accord or sonata and i could not drive them every day they feel different . and dont said the german cars a junk ive have 8 german cars never had anything go wrong with them so stop parking a camry accord sonata next to a german machine camry and accord are good cars for the people that dont care about driving feel and excitment and there nothing wrong with that
LOL. Blaming Korean bloggers? You sound ridiculous. Lose the inferiority complex, brah!
There's a lot of ignorance going on here on both sides. I mean, come on people, I know you're readers of Automobile and some of you are true car enthusiasts, but most of you have no idea what you're talking about. A car is a car, don't get preachy or try to worship the church of your personal garage. Look at it by the facts: The Sonata delivers more horsepower, torque, cabin space, trunk space, fuel economy, and warranty. Hyundai also guarantees your trade-in value through four years of ownership to reassure people about resale value. Its true that Hyundais of the past have been massive depreciators, but that is not the case for most of the models today. Alternatively, the Camry has a long and very steady history of quality and reliability. According to MotorTrends testing, it was significantly quieter than the Sonata, and they also said it felt richer and classier on the inside. Additionally, the reports of defective Camrys was blown massively out of proportion and any sensible person would know that without having to read a car forum. If you like what the Sonata provides over the Camry, drive it. If you would prefer what the Camry offers over the Sonata, drive it. It's not that hard. Stop getting on about the Korean government and Toyota'a rushed products.
Good article....but here's is the deal. We were in the market to buy a car for our day to day use. We live in Houston and my work requires me to drive a lot between Dallas and Houston. We were totally open about our choices - Camry, Ultima, Sonata or the Accord. I already owned the Accord 5 yrs back and was not a big fan of the Camry. We spend sufficient time test driving these vehicles. Deep down, frankly I was in love with the look of the Sonata. I had rented the new Sonata base trim that had a few thousand miles, a week earlier. That experience wasnt so good but I assumed it was so because it was a used rental car. With the new 2011 out in the dealerships, I was hoping that it would deliver on its promise based on all the reviews and stuff the car was getting. I was hoping it would improve my experience though I knew I would have to make some compromises, which I was okay with. However I was extremely dissapointed driving the car - it turned out to be a real uncomfortable drive - bumpy, noisy and very uneasy. The seats were still uncomfortable and the engine noise so unbearable that we were not even able to hear what the sales guy was telling us when driving in the busy highways. My wife did not take more than a few minutes to give me a 'No' unless I really liked the car that much. When I asked the sales guy about the engine sound, his response was to take 'one good look' at the car - its interiors and exteriors and imagine what we were getting for the money. I politely told him that I was not concerned about the looks but performance and reliability as this purchase was for a daily workhorse that would run atleast 50-60 miles per day average. I asked him to share details about the not so uncomfortable test drive that we just had and if trying a different trim would be better and he goes "You need to understand that Hyundai has moved on from where the Camry and the Accord if that is what you are trying to compare with. We dont play in that league anymore. Also dont expect any discounts because we are currently the top of the line wherever you look" !!!!! We politely excused ourselves and walked out of the showroom. I did call the another dealership however they did not even bother to return my call though they told me they would provide me the colors and details of the trims in stock before we went there as they were a good 35 miles away. Yes, they do have a good looking product and could be an eventual threat to cars like the Camry and the Accord. Looks however is not everything. At the end of the day I realized that Hyundai still had a long way to go before it can actually be the work horse that can do 50-75 miles a day for 5-10 years and yet have a substantial resale value at the end of that period.
Agree with you. Try to share that opinion and lets fight against the hyundai lies (supported by its government)
Hehe, I love korean people promoting lies The Toyota Camry is not just more American than any hyundai (and it will forever) but also hyundai can't be compared to Toyota; not just in terms of quality but reliabilty as well. I'm not so sure but the korean blogs-promotions are becoming a cancer on the internet, writing nonsense all the time absurd comments with nothing in mind but trying to damage other's reputation. Man, be humble and stop being paid by your government (skorean through your corrupt gov-organizations, VANK). What a pathetic complex of inferiority, don't compare mediocre quality based on lies and betraying customers (hyundai) to Toyota, If you want examples, try to see EPA's numbers and how hyundai write totally impossible numbers (the hybrid sonata has better numbers than its regular version and the reality says 'the car is a LIE', typical and already known "detail" of south korean makers. My suggestion, don't buy hyundai-kia since that car makers is just a 'fake' and a 'LIE' (besides what hyundai usually does, stealing patents and even quality controls from others no being able to develop anything by itself and showing off of NOTHING but of their own lies thinking the 'world is going to believe the same thing the whole life'
What a sad attempt at a joke. And if it wasn't meant to be a joke, then you're sick. im 20. My first car is my 2009 toyota camry L.E., super white. i LOVE it! I personally think that the design and appeal is what it needs to be. The camry has a class of its own, and the only thing you "haters" can do is talk about how boring the car looks when in fact it doesnt. It's a matter of opinion NOT fact. But if you wanna talk about facts, let's talk about the fact that theyre the longest lasting cars on the road compared to all other cars. I can depend on my car, but people like you who spend money on looks can't say the same. Quality always overpowers Style. BUT, in my opinion, the camry has always had style and quality. I wouldn't trade my car for a BMW, a Hyundai, a Nissan, or ANYTHING! You name it. I'd only trade for the 2012 camry. otherwise, keep your trashy unreliable cars cause I think what i have is the best.
Hey so, I really don't care. But, I'll be honest. I love the Camry. My parents first car when they came here was a used 86' Camry DX (base model). I remember it's old look and in 2000, we bought ourselves a new 00' Camry CE (base model). The 86' never had a single problem and always stood by the new ones side. Sadly, we had the 86' traded for a stupid 03' Nissan Sentra with the worst transmission ever because it broke down in less than the 5 year warranty. After 7 years of putting up with it, my dad wanted to try the SUV industry. So he bought an 10' Subaru Forester. And yet again, problems. The driver door would squeak because of some broken plate and a gas cap would snap off. We still have it though. A lot of you by now may have noticed that I'm talking off my topic. Some of you may also have noticed that I haven't said a single negative thing about the 00' Camry and that's because, of course because it's a Camry, we never had any problems. We actually felt pretty bad when my mom would damage the paint turning corners hitting the car but no dents! I will own a Toyota and definitely a Camry when I can get one. I know I can trust Toyota because of what i've experienced. Hyundai may be good for now but the future holds greater possibilities unknown. Am I right?
Sigh. So much ignorance and jealously posted in this thread. I am 27 and come from a long long of Toyota owners. My first experience with Toyota was back in the 80s when my parents bought their first import... a 1989 Camry. That car lasted us until November 10, 1997 when I convinced my parents to purchase a 1998 Camry LE. The '89 Camry was simply getting old but it was still ticking and only had very very marginal problems but nothing that affected the car actually working. My parents just got rid of their '98 Camry that gave them almost ZERO issues and they gave it to another family member who desperately needed it. They upgraded to a new 2009 Toyota Venza. The Venza is amazing and slaughters any sedan that Hyundai currently offers. I, too, have owned my own Camry's. My first car was a 2002 Camry LE and I traded it in as soon as the 2007 Camry's arrived. My 2007 Camry SE is a great car. I was receiving compliments left and right. My friends thought I was lying about all the compliments until they finally spent a day with me driving around. By the end of the day, my best friend asked me to lie and tell the next person who complimented my car that it was actuallyl HIS car! I'm not sure what's with all of the issues with the styling of this car. When you look at all of the other cars that were out in 2007, NONE were anywhere near as attractive as the Camry. All of these reports of Toyota's eminent demise seem to be conjured up, melodramatic, and based on ignorance. The only reason why the Sonata is really catching up in the sales race is because of two major issues that Toyota has faced, which are both production related: (1) Toyota halting sales of their vehicles due to the allegations of "runaway cars" and (2) Toyota again halting sales because of the Tsunami that hit Japan, this year. Production is still not up to full capacity. There are many many reports from other credible auto-related magazines and reporters, who have stated the same thing. If Toyota's production hadn't been disrupted at anytime in the last two years, Hyundai would still be far in the dust. We don't need sources like AutomobileMag pushing Toyota to prematurely release a new vehicle, to fight off the Koreans. That's the whole reason they're suffering from quality issues, as it is. Toyota rushed out the current Camry and I can admit that. I'm not a blind sheep. But, Toyota is in a position where it's theirs to lose. They can either do it right or jump the gun and get it wrong and lose. The new Camry is due out this October. So I'm not understanding the purpose of this article. Even if Hyundai does creep in and oversell the Camry, it will ONLY be temporary, trust and believe. The 2012 Camry will blaze in and make the Sonata irrelevant, same as it did back in 2007 when the current Camry debuted.
I'm 34 and owned 4 camry: 97, 2000, 2001, 2007. I drove 2011 sonata 2.4. someone I know bought 2011 2.0T sonata. based on test drive, sonata forum search and my friend reviews I'll wait for 2012 camry or just will get 2011 camry. sorry, there is nothing about sonata that I want to have in my garage.
Not everyone finds the Camry ugly. I'm younger than 25 and own a 97 Camry that has been the best car I and any of my family members over 50 have owned. Not everyone wants a sports car, or a car styled using only circular angles. Not everyone likes the Camry, but not everyone likes or wants the Sonata either.
I just purchased a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. I had looked at the Accord and the Camry. Both in my mind have gotten cheaper in theri quality. I am not sure that the Japanese manufacturers can keep up any more. The reason is currency valuation. The Japanese Yen had increased in value against the US dollar by 25% over the last 3 years but the Korean Won has held steady or slightly decreased its value against the US dollar. This gives the Korean car manufacturers a 25%+ advantage against Japan strickly from a currency valuation perspective. Granted only 60% on the Hyundai parts are from Korea while 40% are US or Canadian sourced. Additionally the Hyundai is built in the US so I see it as a win - win for the US and Korea. I love my Sonata!
Smooth Ride
I'm quite interested in what Toyota has to show. The leaked video was of such low quality, it was hard to tell what the new Camry looked like. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and other competitors need to step up and improve the base model's hp, and give more standard features like Hyundai. All at an affordable price of course.
bj cazz
I think Toyota has to step up to the plate Give future Toyota owners an incentive to buy ! OUT WARRANTY --HYUNDAI Give more car for less
There was a time when the Oldsmobile Cutlass with the best-selling car in the US. Now there is not a Oldsmobile anything. Maybe it is time to change leaders for a while. I love competition.
Everyone knows that things change and Hyundai was hungrier than Honda and Toyota. Not sure Toyota is going to bow right away with their billion$ in the bank and ability to blitz the market endlessly. Hyundai is a force to be reckoned with but this war isn't over. Should be an interesting fight.
Where are all the Toyota Camry owners? That's right, they're all dead. Wanna sell more cars? Don't design them to appeal to 72 year olds.

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