Ever wonder what’s at the intersection of comfort and class? Well, for nearly 40 years, the Toyota Camry has transported drivers and passengers alike to that very crossroad. When Toyota Motor Corporation launched in Japan in 1957, it sold a modest 288 vehicles. Today, the automaker has exponentially eclipsed those humble beginnings with the production of its 10 millionth Camry assembled in its U.S. manufacturing plant, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK).
The Toyota Camry is not only a long-standing leader in comfort and class, but according to Car and Driver magazine, it has also been the best-selling car in the U.S. for 23 of the last 25 years — a highly coveted ranking among car manufacturers.
What continues to drive the Camry to the top of its class? For starters, great fuel economy and a reputation for quality, durability, and reliability make Camry a top choice for customers. Add in coupe-inspired design, loads of safety and technology, and seventeen different choices across gas and hybrid powertrains, including a performance-tuned TRD model, and it’s clear that there’s a Camry fit for every customer.
Not surprisingly, the Camry has also maintained its commitment to innovation over the years. Now in its eighth generation, the 2021 model year melds advanced technology with safety, including enhanced pedestrian and new cyclist detection capability¹, improved passing response for the adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assistance, and intersection assistance, just to name a few — making the Toyota Camry a seasoned heavyweight in the automotive world of today and tomorrow.
Here’s a look at a few of the Camry’s milestones.
1983 – Toyota Camry first introduced to the U.S.
Manufactured as a replacement for the Toyota Corona, the Camry — derived from the Japanese word kanmuri, meaning “crown” — sold more than 50,000 vehicles its first year. The four-door midsize sedan featured front-engine and front-wheel drive.
1987 – Toyota Camry introduces bigger engine
During the second generation of the Camry’s production, from 1987 to 1991, a V-6 engine option was available for the first time. In the United States and Canada, it also replaced the diesel engine option.
1988 – First Camry LE rolls off the line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky
The Camry LE made its North American debut in May 1988. When the LE rolled out, it was painted an eye-catching white that captivated American drivers and car enthusiasts alike.
1993 – TMMK produces 1 millionth Camry
In 1993, TMMK celebrated the production of its 1 millionth Camry in Georgetown, Kentucky, home to America’s first and the world’s largest Toyota manufacturing facility. Naturally, the production of 1 million Camrys could not have been achieved without dedicated team members — 4,700 skilled Toyota employees took part in the momentous celebration.
1997 – Camry becomes best-selling sedan in the U.S. for the first time
With the introduction of its fourth-generation model in 1997, the Camry also gets introduced to a new slot in the market — the top slot — becoming America’s best-selling car. This marked the first time the sedan held the position, pushing the previous No. 1 spot holder to the second position.
1997 – TMMK produces 2 millionth Camry
As the best-selling car in America, production kicked into overdrive. In 1997, the Kentucky plant assembled its 2 millionth Camry. This sportier fourth-generation edition achieved speeds of 60 miles per hour in 7.0 seconds and a stopping distance of just 130 feet from that point.
2000 – TMMK produces 3 millionth Camry
By 2000, the U.S. had grown to become responsible for half of the vehicle’s manufacturing. The remaining units were built in Japan. By this point, the vehicles were rolling off the line at a quicker pace. It only took three years to reach its 3 millionth production of the car — one year less than the previous milestone.
2002 – Camry regains title as the best-selling car in the U.S.
After taking a brief “joy ride” in the back seat, the Toyota Camry was again crowned best-selling car with its totally redesigned and more spacious fifth-generation 3.0-liter V-6 model. This model also came equipped for the first time with an optional in-dash navigation system.
2006 – TMMK builds first Camry Hybrid
In pursuit of the same high-performing efficiency that the Prius established, the Camry was first offered as a hybrid in 2006. It boasted a 2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle 4 of 147 horsepower, coupled with a continuously variable transmission and supplemented by up to 45 horses from an electric motor. These added enhancements ushered the eco-advanced vehicle into the spotlight.
2007 – Camry is named the 2007 Motor Trend Car of the Year
In an article, Motor Trend editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie, said the Camry “is the one car rival automakers all wish they could build. He also said, “it offers something for nearly everyone — performance, efficiency, and roominess — at a price point most Americans can afford.” And with the newly debuted hybrid model, it made the Camry the car to beat.
2021 – TMMK produces its 10 millionth Camry
Beginning with 4,700 Toyota employees celebrating 1 million Camrys produced in 1993, today that number has ballooned to more than 10,000 employees who relish the greatest milestone to date: the 10 millionth Camry assembled at its Kentucky plant. The 2021 model year, the eighth generation, is arguably the most impressive and innovative model to-date, thanks to the introduction of Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, the newest version of Toyota’s groundbreaking driver-assist technology suite that includes automatic emergency braking. These advancements are just another building block that further cements Camry’s legacy as a front-runner in the automotive industry and creating mobility for all.
Want to learn more about the 10 millionth Camry? Click here.
¹The Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection (PD) is designed to determine if impact is imminent and help reduce impact speed and damage in certain frontal collisions involving a vehicle, a pedestrian or a bicyclist. PCS w/PD is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors, such as speed, size and position of pedestrian or bicyclist and weather, light and road conditions. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.
Originally published July 21, 2021