Detroit – The North American International Auto Show is still a month away, but Toyota is already teasing news of one of the show’s most anticipated products: the all-new, 2018 Toyota Camry sedan.
The midsize Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. market for 14 years running and is on course to be No. 1 in 2016 as well. But with sedan sales under assault from crossovers – including Toyota’s own RAV4 and Highlander – the eighth-generation Camry will be particularly important as one of the Japanese company’s franchise cars.
“This car has had a dominant image of quality, dependability, and reliability, but our styling has been conservative – some would call it boring,” said Toyota North America Chief Bob Carter in announcing the new Camry Thursday in Detroit. “So we’ve really been focusing on passionate emotional design and making it more fun-to-drive. This will car will be the most significant vehicle we have brought out in a long time.”
Toyota put out a teaser image of the new Camry’s rear quarter-panel. Sharper body lines and a long, thin vertical taillight graphic suggest the car continues styling cues from the newly released Toyota Prius and Prius Hybrid. The sharp body lines also echo Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand which has forged a more polarizing design direction in recent years.
Toyota announced no further details on powertrain or interior.
“That segment is under pressure from changing consumer taste, so this car really needs to make an emotional statement,” said IHS Automotive senior auto analyst Stephanie Brinley. “It’s unlikely it will change current trends, but does need to make sure the segment is solid. Exterior and interior design – and technology – are the keys to that.”
The Camry is made in Georgetown, Kentucky, alongside the Avalon and Lexus ES where it is manufactured for domestic consumption and export. The plant produces over 550,000 units a year total.
“This car is very significant for us in North America so we want to use Detroit as the platform to announce that we’re bringing to market,” said Carter.
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at email@example.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.