Mike Stevens | May 24, 2011

The current seventh-generation Toyota Camry is now into its fifth year and, according to reports out of the US today, possibly its last.

Toyota's home office in Japan has had little to offer on the matter, but speaking with Ward's Auto this week, Toyota USA's Bob Carter all-but confirmed a mid-to-late 2011 unveiling for the brand-new 2012 Camry.

"I will tell you (the current) Camry is very close to the end of its lifecycle, and a fall introduction is a pretty good educated guess," Mr Carter told Ward's.

Mr Carter also confirmed that the recent disasters suffered in Japan have not affected the new Camry's launch schedule.

Whether the report holds any truth remains to be seen, but with the current Camry now getting long-in-the-tooth, a new model is unlikely to be more than a year away.

In Australia, the Camry continues to be a strong seller in the medium segment, its 1577 sales in April eclipsing the i45 (405), Mondeo (400), Mazda6 (377) and Passat (373).

Carter added that while models like the Camry have defined the brand internationally (along with the Corolla and HiLux in Australia) through the 80s and 90s, the 2000s have seen the Prius become its most recognisable model.

As the Prius range grows with the addition of the Prius V and Prius C, Carter believes the Prius range will become the brand's strongest.

In Australia, Toyota sold 58 Prius cars in April - down from 179 for the same period last year. A drop in Prius sales is to be expected however, with the range of hybrid offerings growing not only in the Toyota and Lexus line-ups, but also among competing brands.

The Prius has also faced stiff competition from the Honda Insight hybrid this year, with 221 sales so far in 2011 - to the Prius' 225 sales.

Globally, Toyota has sold more than three million hybrid cars, and sales are growing faster than ever: it has sold more than one million hybrids in the past 18 months, compared to 10 years for the first million and just over two years for the second million.


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