The Toyota Camry Sedan Is Dead in Japan After 43 Years of Limited Sales
If you’ve never owned a Toyota Camry sedan, you’ve likely known someone who has. While it never hit Ford F-150-level production numbers, tens of millions of Camrys have hit the road worldwide. While most of the planet loves the Camry, it has fallen out of favor in its home territory. Subsequently, Toyota is killing off the popular sedan in Japan this year.
Why would Toyota kill off the Camry in its home country?
Every year, the Toyota Camry sedan sells in the hundreds of thousands worldwide. Nikkei Asia says the Japanese automotive giant pumped out 600,000 of the affordable four-door cars last year alone. Although it sold in 100 countries, approximately half were purchased in the U.S. in various configurations. Despite its perennial popularity in North America and elsewhere, the Camry isn’t popular in Japan.
Of the 21 million Toyota Camry sedans built since its 1982 debut, 1.3 million went to Japanese owners. But the nation’s love affair with them has dwindled. Out of the before-mentioned 600,000 sold in 2022, only 1% of them were bought in Japan. As any automaker would, such poor sales from a global market car mean the Japanese vehicle buyer wants something different.
A shift toward SUVs for the island nation
Japan is known for its pint-sized automotive offerings. For instance, Kei cars became all-the-rage in the 1980s and 1990s with superior fuel economy and a tiny footprint. They were even the basis for Chrysler’s resurgence with American economy cars after the oil crisis. However, as times change, so do desires.
Larger vehicles like SUVs and minivans have gained traction in Japan over the last few years. Even Mitsubishi stopped making cars to focus on SUVs. Japanese market Mitsubishi Outlanders, Subaru Foresters, and the Honda HR-V are popular picks, CarfromJapan.com says. However, miniature Kei-style vehicles are still beloved. For instance, the Suzuki Spacia, Toyota Roomy, Honda N-Box, and the equally weird Daihatsu Tanto.
The midsize sedan segment in Japan is shrinking. Therefore, the Toyota Camry sedan was an inevitable casualty. Toyota’s Century, Corolla, and Mirai sedans still sell well, but does it mean the Camry will fall out of production entirely? After all, Toyota has already stopped taking orders in Japan for the Camry.
Will the Toyota Camry sedan be pulled from dealerships worldwide?
As mentioned, the Toyota Camry sedan sells in nearly half of the world’s countries. Its top area of sales is the North American market—particularly the U.S. Considering Toyota is in the business of making money, it’s an almost impossible thought to see the Camry leave stateside altogether.
Two-thirds of all Toyota Camry sedans ever made were sold in the U.S. In 2023, the latest tenth-generation midsize sedan delivers the same affordable, comfortable, and economical transportation that the original “global strategic car” was built to offer. Nevertheless, the Camry has reached a point where significant change could be on the horizon.
It’s been seven years since the last Camry redesign. Currently, the four-door family car is available with a traditional internal combustion engine and a 50-plus mpg hybrid. Toyota seeks to electrify its fleet by 2025, having an electric version of each of its models. Therefore, while the Camry most likely won’t depart the U.S., an EV version is likely in the works.