Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown debuted the latest incarnations of its popular Camry for the TV cameras Wednesday.
Camry has come a long way from the boxy, utilitarian first generation model that rolled off the assembly line in the early 80s. Now, the 2018 models – 10 in all including the trio of hybrids – veer in a much more sporty direction. TMMK senior vice president Susan Elkington says that aesthetic shift comes down to simple market demand.
"As we look at the character lines, maybe in the past our production engineering said 'oh, that's too sharp of an angle there,' but now we're saying 'no, we've got to figure how to do it because that's what our customer wants,'" she tells reporters.
The new Camry is the first vehicle in North America designed and manufactured using what the company calls its new “Global Architecture” intended to streamline the process. By standardizing the size and placement of components, the company aims to create a more nimble operation.
Chad Lindon has worked on Toyotas for 22 years. He remembers the less flashy models of yore, designs he thought of as "dated" in his early 20s. But he suspects his younger self would jump at the chance to drive the 2018 version.
"They have made an engine that's more powerful with better fuel efficiency and just a sleek design that I think is going to reach a new customer base," he says.
Toyota no doubt shares that hope. TMMK recently hired more than 700 people to support the launch, at what already ranked as the largest Toyota plant in the world.
The new models run from just over $23,000 to nearly $35,000. They hit the dealers in late summer.