Toyota to Offer Sport Hybrid Version of Top-Selling Camry Sedan

Feb 06, 2014 1:43 pm ET

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., looking to keep its Camry as the top-selling car in the U.S., plans to introduce a sport hybrid version of the family sedan, said Bob Carter, senior vice president for the world’s largest automaker.

Consumers have asked for the combination, Carter said. Toyota topped 400,000 Camry sales in the U.S. over the last two years and aims to increase that again this year in an increasingly crowded mid-sized sedan segment. The company already sells LE and XLE hybrid versions of the Camry.

“We’re going to introduce a couple of special editions in the spring and one of them will be a sport hybrid,” Carter said today in an interview at the Chicago auto show.

Facing faster-growing sales from new versions of the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, Toyota is seeking to enhance the styling for the next Camry without risking its mass- market appeal. The Camry, redesigned for 2012, is the best- selling U.S. car, a title it’s held for 12 years. While work has begun to develop the next generation of the Camry, executives, including Carter, haven’t provided details.

U.S. Camry sales totaled 408,484 in 2013, topping newer sedans, including Honda Motor Co.’s Accord, the No. 2 car, which sold 366,678 units last year. This year, Hyundai will bring a revamped Sonata to the market and Chrysler Group LLC redesigned its 200 model. Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, forecasts that Camry will maintain its lead and 400,000-unit volume for a 13th straight year.

Toyota sold 44,448 Camry Hybrids in the U.S. last year, making it the market’s top-selling hybrid sedan. Ford’s Fusion hybrid was second with 37,270 units, or 43,359 including the Fusion Energi plug-in. Competing mid-size hybrids include Honda Motor Co.’s gasoline-electric Accord and hybrid versions of Hyundai Motor Co.’s Sonata and Kia Motors Corp.’s Optima sedan.

Toyota’s Prius is the top-selling hybrid at 234,228 U.S. deliveries last year. Toyota, with its U.S. sales unit is in Torrance, California, commands 60 percent of U.S. electric-drive sales, including plug-in hybrids and pure-electric vehicles.

--With assistance from Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles. Editors: Jamie Butters, Niamh Ring