NEW YORK -- Under pressure from a raft of rivals, Toyota showed off its redesign of the Toyota Camry on Wednesday to start off the New York Auto Show press preview with what is likely to be the most important introduction.
Camry is America's top selling sedan. And though Toyota could have played it safe, it didn't hold back.
The new Camry is redesigned inside and out. "We stripped the current Camry almost to the chassis and started almost from scratch," Toyota division chief Bill Fay told hundreds at the car's unveiling.
The new Camry gets a look in line with Toyota's just-redesigned compact Corolla, with a narrower nose and more side sculpting. "Only the roof (line) remains unchanged," he says.
The new bodywork also has extra welds for more rigidity to improve driving characteristics. The suspension was retuned for better ride and handling balance, Fay says. Most engine and transmission options carry over from 2014.
Inside, the Camry adds upscale touches to fabrics and trim, plus a wireless phone charger—a feature first added to the 2014 Toyota Avalon. In addition to the main LCD touchscreen, the new Camry also gets a second 4.2-inch screen in the gauge cluster to display information about audio, navigation, and vehicle diagnostics.
"America's favorite car just got better," Fay says.
With each redone model in the past couple of years -- Avalon, RAV 4, Corolla and Highlander, and now Camry -- Toyota has moved to give them a more stylish and more upscale look and feel. The competitive bar in its key product segments has risen and no segment is more important for Toyota in the U.S. that the midsize sedan where Camry has been the top dog.
"It's almost a required move by Toyota at this point given the challenge they are facing from the competition and how hard they had to push to stay the top seller in the segment this year," says Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "I think it will make a difference, but I don't think the styling alone is going to change the car's trajectory in the segment, which is increased competition."