The Toyota Camry is a sedan car sold by Toyota Motor Corporation since 1982, spanning multiple generations. Originally compact in size (narrow-body), later Camry models have grown to fit the mid-size classification (wide-body). Although the two sizes co-existed in the 1990s. Since the release of the wide-bodied versions, Camry has been extolled by Toyota as second “world car” after the Corolla. In Japan, Camry was once exclusive to Toyota Corolla Store retail dealerships across the Japan.
The name “Camry” derives from the Japanese word kanmuri which means “crown”. This follows Toyota’s naming tradition of using the crown name for primary models starting with the Toyota Crown (1955), continuing with the Toyota Corona (1957) and Corolla (1966); the Latin words for “crown” and “small crown”, respectively. Maintaining this theme was the Toyota Tiara (1960) named after the “tiara” form of crown. The Atara trim level name used on the Camry in Australia since 2011 means “crown” in Hebrew. The rebadged Camry variant for Japan, the Toyota Scepter (1991) took its name from “scepter”, a royal accessory to a crown.
Celica Camry (A40/A50; 1979–1982)
The “Camry” nameplate originated on a four-door sedan approximate to the Toyota Celica called the Celica Camry. Toyota designated this initial application of the Camry name as the A40/A50 series. Celica Camry made its sales debut in January 1980 at Toyota Corolla Store retail dealerships in Japan. Production had earlier commenced in December 1979 at the Tsutsumi plant at Toyota, Aichi. Despite the marketing position, Celica Camry shares few components with its namesake—but rather the Carina (A40/A50). Toyota modified the Carina by elongating its front-end and incorporating styling cues such as the T-bar grille motif that resembled the Celica XX/Supra (A40). Strictly speaking, Celica Camry is not the first generation of Camry, but rather its predecessor.
Toyota started production of the first generation series Camry in March 1982 at the Tsutsumi plant. Designated the model code V10, when fitted with S-series gasoline engines it was known as the SV10, SV11, or SV12 depending on the exact version. Likewise, the C-series diesel versions are identified by the CV10 and CV11 codes. Released to the Japanese market on 24 March 1982, Toyota issued the V10 series as a four-door notchback sedan retailing at the Toyota Corolla Store dealerships. At the same time, a twinned model—the Toyota Vista—launched as a rebadged Camry sold at separate Toyota Vista Store locations. Five-door liftback versions of the Vista came to the market in August 1982, although outside of export markets the Camry remained exclusively a sedan. These cars served above the comparably sized Toyota Carina and Corona in the Toyota hierarchy. Unlike the preceding Celica Camry, exports were achieved with the first generation Camry to Australia, Europe and North America.
The second generation, V20 series Camry went on sale during August 1986 in Japan. As with the previous series, there was again a parallel Vista model for the home market that Toyota released simultaneously. V20 Camry and Vista sedans continued with the four-door sedan configuration. For overseas markets, Toyota issued a station wagon for the first time. The Vista also launched with a four-door pillared hardtop sedan with unique body panels all-round in lieu of the liftback offered with the previous car—a body extended to the Camry in August 1988. To attain a sportier appearance with lower and wider proportions, Toyota reduced the height of the hardtop by 25mm over the sedan. Not intended for export, this hardtop body with few changes would later form the basis of the upscale but hastily conceived Lexus ES 250 produced for North American customers from June 1989 through to 1991. Toyota rushed the ES 250 as a stopgap measure to flesh out the fledgling Lexus lineup so as not to launch the flagship LS 400 as a stand-alone model.
Holden Apollo (JK, JL)
The Holden Apollo, a rebadged variant to the Toyota Camry, retailed in Australia alongside the facelifted Camry V20 series from August 1989. Production had started in July. This model sharing occurred due to the United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI) joint venture between Toyota Australia and General Motors-Holden’s starting in 1987 that resulted in model sharing between both automakers from August 1989. Known as the JK series, the Apollo differentiated itself by way of a redesigned grille, rehashed tail lamps and other minor trim items. This rebranding scheme was the result of the Button car plan, introduced in May 1984 to rationalise and make the Australian automotive industry more competitive on a global scale by means of reducing import tariffs. Offered in sedan and wagon guises, Apollo replaced the Camira.
Introduced exclusively to Japan in July 1990, the Camry V30 carried forward the four-door sedan and a differently styled hardtop sedan. Like before, either shape could be had in a Vista branded variety with revised styling. Both bodies would also form the basis of enlarged wide-body XV10 versions from September 1991, aimed primarily at international markets. The V30 remained smaller than the XV10 to offer buyers a vehicle within the “five-number” registration category concerning exterior dimensions and engine displacement for Japanese vehicle size regulations. The rules required a body width under 1.7 meter, length under 4.7 meter, and engines at or below 2,000cc. Sedans in the wide-body format would sell overseas as the Camry XV10—identical to the smaller V30 in most respects except for the front- and rear-end styling grafted to an otherwise unchanged body and interior. Hardtop sedans would engender the luxury Lexus ES 300 (XV10), which again would couple the existing side profile with rehashed front, rear, and interior designs. The export-oriented ES 300 would sell as the Toyota Windom in Japan.
The Camry V40 appeared in July 1994 exclusively for the Japanese market. The Toyota Vista twin continued on, although the Camry Prominent hardtop was no longer offered; only the Vista was available as a hardtop. As before in previous generations, the Camry was exclusive to Toyota Corolla Store, while the Vista was only available at Toyota Vista Store locations.
The V50 generation was not available as a Camry—only as a Vista—as a sedan, plus a station wagon called Vista Ardeo. 1.8 L and 2.0 L engines were available. The interior features a center instrument panel/navigation display. Toyota claims this is the first true redesign and rethink of its FWD platforms since the 1982 Camry/Vista. With this platform, Toyota trades the rear MacPherson struts for a torsion beam axle setup. A double-wishbone setup is available for all-wheel drive. Toyota also flipped the engine orientation so that the intake manifold is in front, improving space efficiency.
Wide Body XV10 (1991–1996)
Toyota replaced the compact V20 Camry with the Japanese market-only V30 series in 1990. However, international markets such as Australia and North America received a widened version of the V30, known as the XV10 series. While marginally larger than the V20, the V30 had to comply with Japanese dimension regulations, which restricted the car’s width to 1,700 mm and length to 4,700 mm for a lower tax obligation. Particularly in the United States, this narrower model was seen as compromised, thus limiting its sales potential. As a result, the “wide-body” mid-size Camry (XV10) released to North America in 1991 was developed from early 1988 and the final design frozen later that year. It was with the XV10 that Toyota upgraded the Camry’s status to its second “world car” after the Corolla, with exports starting from Australia to Southeast Asia. Japan also received the wider XV10 model, although it was sold under the Toyota Scepter name there. Toyota chose the name “Scepter” as a reference to the Camry/Crown naming tradition, as a “scepter” is a symbolic ornamental staff held by a ruling monarch, a prominent item of royal regalia.
In late 1991, development on the XV20 commenced after launch of the XV10 under the 415T program. Design work was frozen in early 1994 and later launched in the United States in September 1996 and Japan in December 1996. It continued as a sedan and station wagon (called the Camry Gracia in Japan), though the latter model was not sold in the United States. This generation was launched in the US for the 1997 model year. In August 1999 for the 2000 model year, the sedan models received a mid-model upgrade to the front and rear fascias, but remained otherwise similar to the 1997 to 1999 models.
Regular: Released in September 2001 for the 2002 model year, Toyota released the Camry XV30 series as a larger sedan, but without a station wagon for the first time. The wagon’s demise occurred due to its sales erosion to minivans and crossover SUVs. Prestige: Compared to the international version with a less conservative design (styled by Hiroyuki Metsugi, approved 1999), the Asian “prestige” Camry had a different distinctive design with more chrome, larger head lamps and tail lamps and a general greater emphasis on its width.
Regular: This generation of Camry saw even greater differentiation between “regular” model sold internationally (including Japan) and the “prestige” Camry sold in the rest of Asia. The regular Camry, fitted with four-cylinder engines sold alongside the V6-engined prestige Camry in Oceania and the Middle East as the Toyota Aurion. Between 2006 and 2010, the regular Camry was also rebadged as the Daihatsu Altis model, which sold alongside the Camry in Japan. The Daihatsu differed only in badging, with no cosmetic changes. Prestige: The Asian market Camry features different front and rear styling, plus a revised interior. In Asia, the Camry occupied a higher end of the market, priced just below entry-level German luxury models. The Asian Camry lineup includes a 3.5-liter V6 model and is sold as the Toyota Aurion (XV40) in Australia, competing against large Australian sedans like the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.
Regular: The XV50 Camry was produced from 21 August 2011, introduced on 23 August 2011, and began U.S. sales in September 2011. The interior received a major restyling, while the exterior received all-new sheet metal and more angular styling. Prestige: In this generation, the Camry line-up for the Japanese domestic market was reduced to being just a single variant (hybrid only). The Japanese market will now share the same Camry model as the Asian market “prestige” Camry—a design also adopted by the Toyota Aurion (XV50), albeit with minor visual changes. The Brazilian market also carries the Prestige variant instead of the one sold in North America (only in the 3.5L V6 configuration). Prior to the XV50, the Japanese and Brazilian markets wide-body Camry were similar to the US models. The “prestige” Camry was discontinued in Southeast Asia and India in late 2018, but continued to be sold in Vietnam until April 2019.
The latest Camry, which is the eighth generation of the global Camry model, and known as the XV70 was introduced at the January 2017 North American International Auto Show. It was launched in Japan on 10 July 2017 and in Australia on 21 November 2017. North American production started in June 2017 and sales began in late July 2017. Due to the need to equip Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky with new equipment for Toyota New Global Architecture, a small portion of the initial North American production was sourced from the Tsutsumi plant in Japan.