Toyota confirmed today that it will use the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as the stage for the world premiere of the 2018 Camry, releasing a teaser photo of the rear quarter panel suggesting a faster back and crisper character lines.
It may be the only midsize sedan at the show in a world trending to crossovers, but the Camry is a huge deal for Toyota. Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior vice president of automotive operations, said in Detroit that he expects the Camry to be the top-selling passenger car in the U.S. again in 2016 for the 15th year. And it is a huge contributor to Toyota retaining its place as the top retail brand, with help from the Corolla and the ever-increasing sales of crossovers such as the hot RAV4 and the Highlander.
Carter would not provide many details of the next-generation Camry, declining to say if it will still be offered with a V-6, as a hybrid, and whether there will be a pure-electric Camry for the first time.
Look for a car that is racier than the one it replaces. Carter acknowledged the Camry has been conservatively styled in the past, “some would call it boring,” he said, and a “really nice refrigerator,” a reference to the famous line from former General Motors executive Bob Lutz who likened Camry styling to an angry kitchen appliance.
The new Camry will focus on being more fun to drive, Carter said, a mandate that comes from the top of the company. It is built in Georgetown, Ky., in a plant that also makes the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES. The plant has the capacity to make 550,000-600,000 vehicles annually.
And despite the expectation the crossover trend will only accelerate, Camry is still considered one of the most significant vehicles in the lineup within Toyota, which is why the automaker has saved it for the Detroit auto show which he called the most important in North America. Carter also doesn’t rule out a resurgence in the midsize car market, much like midsize pickups have made a comeback.
In addition to the Camry unveiling in Detroit, Toyota will have separate press conferences for Lexus and a third event to discuss technology that affects both brands.