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Toyota Says It Is Modifying the Camry After Crash-Test Results

Toyota Says It Is Modifying the Camry After Crash-Test Results

It's a bit of a shock to read the Consumer Reports review of the 2014 Toyota (NYSE: TM) Camry.

The review starts by calling the car “refined, comfortable and roomy,” continues by praising its responsive handling an impressive powertrain – but then abrupty ends with, “We can no longer recommend the Camry because it scored a Poor in the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) small-overlap crash test.”

This past October, the magazine announced the Camry – as well as Toyota's Prius V an RAV4, and the Audi A4, owned by Volkswagen, weren't being recommended due to their poor performance in the new, small-overlap frontal crash test.

That test replicates what happens when just a front corner of a vehicle hits an object. And the IIHS says these types of crashes are responsible for about one-fourth of the serious injuries or fatalies that occur in frontal collisions in the U.S.

Toyota executives say company engineers are busy making modifications on its Camrys to improve its performance in the small-overlap frontal crashes. In a recent interview with The Detroit News, Bill Fay, the head of Toyota's U.S. division, said the Camry is still a five-star car that still does well in the IIHS tests.

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“It did not in that one,” he added, “and we’re busy making the necessary adjustments so that we can address that.”

The Associated Press reports that, through November of 2013, Camry sales grew by 1.3 percent – whereas sales of the Honda Accord, the Camry's main rival, were up 11 percent. AP also notes the U.S. market for midsize cars has slowed down, growing by around three percent this year, compared with overall market growth of eight percent.

And Bob Carter, head of Toyota Motor Sales USA, acknowledges there's more competition now. “(Before 2007) the midsize sedan segment was Camry and Accord, and there was no conversation beyond Camry and Accord,” he told the Detroit News. “Today, (the Ford) Fusion, (Hyundai) Sonata and (Nissan) Altima are in the conversation.”

But despite the controversy and competition, Toyota says they are still on track for the Camry remaining as the nation's bestselling car.

“We like that position,” said Carter. “We will continue to market the car. We will continue to incentivize the car. And we’re going to continue to improve the car. We’ll have lots and lots of Camry news next year.”


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