Besides the recalls aftermath and, now, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, a third commonly cited cause for the recent downturn in Toyota, Lexus and Scion sales is an uneven new product launch cadence that left the 2010 and 2011 model years sorely lacking in all-new models. The upcoming 2012 model year, however, marks a turning point in addressing the latter situation. Thus far, we’ve seen Toyota’s larger Prius (Prius Alpha/v/+, depending on what part of the world you’re in) and the 3rd-generation Yaris, as well as a preview of the 4th-generation Lexus GS in the LF-Gh concept, and the twice-delayed Scion iQ should certainly appear as a 2012 model.
Eco-weenies Fans of “green” vehicles will no doubt be pleased by the appearance of the Prius plug-in hybrid, the smaller Prius c, the Scion iQ EV and the Toyota RAV4 EV. Yet, probably the most crucial new 2012 launch for Toyota isn’t any of the above, but, rather, the 7th generation of the Toyota Camry, still the U.S.’s biggest-selling car.
At the Wednesday 29 June 2011 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Annual National Dealer Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) President Akio Toyoda stated that
The all-new 2012 Camry and Camry Hybrid is designed to meet the changing needs of the 21st Century driver, and the new Camry will provide technologically advanced features, a contemporary design inside and out, improved performance and refined ride and handling.
Beyond that, though, Mr. Toyoda also appears in a brief, 44-second YouTube video that affords a quick glimpse of a headlight (also shown at the top of our story) that is seemingly taller and narrower than that of the current, outgoing 6th-gen model, and, to this author’s eye, is somewhat reminiscent of the latest European Toyota Avensis.