Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s revamped Camry, the best-selling sedan in the U.S., won a “recommended” review from Consumer Reports magazine, which has been critical of some of the Japanese automaker’s models.
The 2012 Camry, which went on sale in October, was evaluated for the February 2012 issue of the magazine published by Yonkers, New York-based Consumers Union, a non-profit group.
“The Camry has a nicer interior, more responsive handling, and better fuel economy than before,” the review said. “In fact, the four-cylinder model’s 27 mpg overall ties with the Hyundai Sonata (005380) for the best fuel economy among conventional gasoline-powered family sedans.”
Carmakers seek favorable reviews from the magazine as they are considered among the most objective because of its policies of accepting no advertising and buying every vehicle it tests. While Toyota has historically fared well in Consumer Reports reviews, the magazine said in 2007 it would scrutinize the brand more closely due to problems it found in the Tundra pickup, Lexus GS luxury car and previous V-6 engine Camry sedan.
The magazine declined in August to recommend Honda Motor Co.’s 2012 Civic, a car it previously favored. The Tokyo-based automaker has since said it’s considering revisions to the Civic, without elaborating.
Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for 13 of the past 14 years, and its Toyota City, Japan-based maker has vowed to retain that position. The company is targeting U.S. sales of 360,000 Camrys next year, below 2007’s record 473,108.
Sales this year through October fell 8.8 percent from a year earlier to 251,564, the result of reduced output after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami cut supplies of parts, according to the company. The Camry decline mirrors Toyota’s 8.8 percent U.S. sales slide during the same period.
Some investors in Asia were concerned two months ago that U.S. sales of the Camry would be “poor,” though those concerns were probably premature, BNP Paribas SA wrote in a note Oct. 28.
Reviews for the 2012 Camry have been generally favorable, with the Los Angeles Times noting an improved driving performance while Edmunds.com cited the size of its cabin and high crash-test scores. Most also note that the new car’s styling is more conservative than midsize rivals including Hyundai Motor Co.’s Sonata.
Toyota’s U.S. sales unit is based in Torrance, California.
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