Toyota Camry remains a winner
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

Reconnecting with an old friend on the road to Detroit

Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
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On the road to the Detroit auto show this week I reconnected with an old friend, the Toyota Camry.

It was the first chance I've had to drive the vehicle in more than a decade after owning two different Camry generations from 1991 until 2002.

It didn't take long to be reminded why it is the best-selling sedan in the United States: the highway ride and handling is quiet and comfortable; there is plenty of room for passengers and luggage; and the addition of a hybrid powertrain helps reduce fuel consumption while providing a noticeable power boost.

Despite its U.S. success, Toyota discontinued the Camry in western Europe in 2006 after car buyers completely abandoned the volume large-car segment in favor of minivans from mass-market players and big sedans from premium brands. The UK-made Avensis, which is smaller than the Camry, is Toyota's flagship sedan/station wagon for Europe, where it ranked in the top 10 in the mid-sized segment that is dominated by the Volkswagen Passat.

Toyota can take some comfort in the fact that the Camry is a major player in sedan-friendly Russia. The locally made Camry ranks as one of the country's top 25 sellers with a volume of 32,895 in Russia last year. By comparison, Toyota sold 408,484 Camrys in the United States in 2013.

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