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Toyota to end Camry imports from Japan

Tue, 06 Sep 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to halt exports of the Japan-made Camry sedan to North America following the launch of the redesigned version this fall.

The phase out of imported Camrys, which currently account for just a sliver of U.S. sales, comes as the company races to boost local production to offset exchange rate losses.

“The current U.S. production capacity is sufficient to produce the vehicles we plan to sell,” says Yukihiro Okane, chief engineer for the seventh generation Camry, which went on sale in Japan on Sept. 5 and hits U.S. showrooms later this month. “North America will be self sufficient,” he said.

Toyota is targeting annual U.S. sales of 360,000 Camrys, and the car will be manufactured at Toyota's factory in Georgetown, Ky., as well as Subaru's factory in Indiana.

Imported Camrys accounted for just 982, or half-a-percent, of the 203,688 Camrys sold in the United States through August.

While the Camry has been the best selling car in the United States for nine straight years, the sedan is anything but big in Japan. Domestic sales peaked at 82,000 units in 1990 and dwindled to 1,100 units last year. At home, the mid-sized Camry, which gets its name from the Japanese word for crown, languishes between the upscale Crown sedan and sportier Mark X.

By Hans Greimel- Automotive News