By on July 1, 2011

OK, so Toyoda-san didn’t so much introduce the new Camry as introduce its headlight. The good news is that the headlight looks like progress. The bad news is that most Americans were probably a bit distracted by the video’s spare production values and Mr Toyoda’s somewhat awkward demeanor (to protect you from your own hypocrisy, commentary on Toyoda-san’s accent will be moderated… unless you can post it in Japanese). Net-net though, Toyota can’t help but come across as an earnestly nerdy lot (led, as they are, by the king of the auto otaku), which fits their brand image well. And for all the talk about styling being the prime mover for consumers, and the necessity of emotion in design, if this new Camry is simply a fresher take on its earnestly nerdy predecessor, Toyota will have accomplished its mission. I’m beginning to wonder if Detroit’s intense dislike of Toyota isn’t simply because it’s the biggest Japanese competitor, but because Toyota’s leadership culture is the unassuming, unglamorous opposite of Detroit’s flamboyant tradition.

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44 Comments on “Akio Toyoda Personally Introduces The 2012 Camry...”


  • avatar

    We can all hate Camry, we can say all kind of bad things about it’s driving dynamics, the quality of the interior, whatever.
    They (TOYOTA) need to be really stupid to change it to something we like, they need to make money! it’s a perfect car for the average American.
    Me? I probably wont buy one, I drove many of them over the years and it’s really not for me but hey, who cares about me anyway?

  • avatar
    SpinnyD

    I’ve seen it and it looks much better than the current one. Toyota should have no problem keeping the number one selling car spot.

  • avatar
    Alwaysinthecar

    彼はいい人のように思える。

  • avatar
    Antediluvianbaby

    I thought this video was refreshingly concise and clever in a homemade youtube sorta way. A nice change of pace from all the flash and dazzle and drama that other companies build just, only to show us the shadow of a roof line.

    Points for honesty, modesty and originality!

    • 0 avatar
      stroker49

      Your’re right. It might be a good idea also for others to spend more effort producing fine high quality product instead of training at good speach, and talk less.
      I was working ten years for Toyota (fork lift trucks), I even had a meeting with one Toyoda in Japan once. Toyota are really great and great honest hard working people. They do everything according to best practice. When they are hiring people for example in the UK for their car production there they hire people without experience (from Rover etc.) so they can learn them the right way from the beginning. They don’t even care much about the profit, only quality. If the qulity is top notch they know they will win the customers and the profit later (might be much later). I bought three Toyota´s new. 1998 Avensis, 2001 RAV4 and 2004 Avensis. Great cars, not very exiting. The first Avensis had an issue, after three years one of the light bulbs blew! Being a piston head and Europe´s last supporter of the USA I am now driving a Cadillac STS -05, despite the quality. But here in Europe American cars has a worse reputation than anything else so used they are very good vaule for money (and they are not THAT bad). But as someone wrote, most people just want a good car that don’t leave them stranded. I would happily buy another Toyota or maybe better, a Lexus.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Maybe Akio should have knocked back a few before shooting this vid?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I wonder if the “Camry” badge on the trunklid will be properly horizontally placed instead of drooping downward left to right. Any graphic artist worth his salt knows you never angle downward, always upward from left to right, otherwise, keep it on the level.

    Actually I see this on many cars and it aggravates the daylights out of me. Sloppy placement – no excuse.

    • 0 avatar

      That drives me nuts too. I could see why they did it, and what they were trying to do, but it just looks bad.

      The worst badge placement goes to the previous gen. Sebring convertible, which had the badge on the left corner of the bumper.

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      Those crooked “Camry” and HSD badges on Camries drive me crazy, too. Aligning them with the curvature of the trunk lid edge makes the car look sloppily constructed. Every time I see one, I think someone should donate a laser level to the Camry factory so they can make the badges level. Interestingly, some of the badges are level and some aren’t, implying they’re not aligned by machine and there are no alignment holes — I agree there’s no excuse for that kind of inconsistency.

      • 0 avatar
        redliner

        Toyota assembly line workers use a template when applying the badges. They align the template with the side of the trunk lid. In the middle of the template there is a hole exactly the size and shape of the badge, ensuring that the badges are all uniformly crooked every single time.

        I’m willing to bet the badges that are on straight, are straight because the owners fixed them.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        I have an older Gen 5 Camry and I never noticed this…must be a Gen 6 thing, but to be honest even though I’ve seen a lot of the Gen 6 Camry around I never though to myself that the Camry decal looked crooked. I’m guessing only people who are obsessively staring at the decals would notice this kinda thing.
        Anyways it’s fairly easy to fix yourself if it bothers you since I’m pretty sure the decals are just glued on so there’s no ugly holes underneath if you want to move or adjust it. The only thing that’s wrong with my decal is that the chrome has pitted a little bit if you examine it up close but then again the car is 8 years old and has been driven in salty, salty, winters.

    • 0 avatar
      FuzzyPlushroom

      I’m infinitely glad that I’m not the only one who’s noticed, and been driven mad, by this. The Camry is one of the most egregious examples, due to ubiquity as well as the sculpting of its sheetmetal, but you’re correct, there are others.

      Another prime suspect: the first-generation Pontiac Vibe. The letters don’t even line up with each other!

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Hell, he’s much better than Ed Whitacre! Earnestness is appealing. He just needs some more charisma like Ioaccoca. I was amazed that he started with Hi.

    On the product shot, I have the feeling this is going to look a lot like the Sonata.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I like Akio and I like this nerdy little video clip. It’s honest, no-nonsense, and, well, nerdy. His charisma probably shows more when he’s driving one of his Gazoo racers than in front of the camera.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit: In June, Chrysler Group outsold Toyota and Honda by 9500 and 36000 units, respectively. They ARE hurting…

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      Chrysler is on a bit of a tear, I read that their sales were up 30.2 percent last month. If the improved products have acceptable reliability, maybe ther is hope for them after all.

      It’s interesting that the Japanese don’t consider the D3 serious competitors when they seem to be gaining so much traction with their new models.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    Been in the car ad biz for over 30 years. Best. Viral. Video. Ever. Pitch perfect. Highly amusing.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Nice headlight…

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    The reason you only get to see the headlight is that the rest of the car is invisible. Toyota engineers are desperately trying to keep the car from auto-cloaking with whatever happens to be in the background. They’ve considered adding slightly more sparkle to the standard coat of beige metallic, but this is considered to be a highly risky step.

  • avatar
    Robert Fahey

    If handled right, he could become a quirky and disarming fixture on Toyota’s TV ads. People prefer unpolished awkwardness over Guy Smiley any day. Use him IMMEDIATELY I say.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I was a kid, but I do remember that the Joe Isuzu ads were rather popular. If any role could characterize Guy Smiley, it was Joe Isuzu.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Fahey

        You’re right. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Toyoda has potential as a campy spokesman. This video makes me smile, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Joe Isuzu was popular enough to make it into the George HW Bush debate with Michael Dukakis. The Duke made a reference to Joe Isuzu and when HW responded he said that “That joke was about as clear as Boston Harbor”…the best moment of the entire debate!

  • avatar
    G35X

    豐田章男社長の英語は日本の会社の社長としては良い方ではないでしょうか? だいたい社長の外国語の発音の良し悪しで会社の悪口を言うのはアメリカ人の負け惜しみです。 ダン・エーカーソンさんは “We commonly refer to the geek-mobile as the Prius. And I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Prius.” 、 “The Volt actually looks good.” を日本語で言えますか?

    日本語で話すときも正直そうだし、日本人の多くは好感を持っています。 新しいカムリハイブリッドに何か画期的なものがあればいいのですが… リチュウムイオン電池を積みプラグインにすれば売れるでしょう。

  • avatar
    Canuck129

    Well, Mr. Toyoda definitely seems like the real deal.

    This a refreshing video. It almost says “We don’t need any glitz here… It’s a Camry dammit and it’s going to be better than the last one..” Enough said. (But I’m sure glitz will follow this fall)

    This Toyoda fella seems to have the right mix of Car guy, Bean counter and real human being.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “This Toyoda fella seems to have the right mix of Car guy, Bean counter and real human being.”

      Ha ha ha! Now if only Mr. Toyoda had white hair!

  • avatar
    ehsteve

    I love it!

  • avatar
    YotaCarFan

    I like the video, too. Mr. Toyoda seems like an honest, down-to-earth guy who believes in his product and means well. While he may come across as nerdy, considering one of demographics to which his hybrid cars appeal, that is a good thing. The video is well suited as a viral internet ad, but if something like it ran on TV it might backfire as a more polished presentation would be expected by the viewers.

    I’m eager to see the 2012 Camry’s sibling — the 2012 Lexus ES, which hopefully will have a hybrid version and telematics that don’t look and function like they’re from the 1980s.

  • avatar

    We have asked our in-house Japanese linguist, Frau Schmitto-san, to rate the Japanese contributions. Here are her responses:

    Alwaysinthecar: “That’s fine.”

    HoldenSSVSE: “No. What is it?”

    G35X: “O.k.!”

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    “Thanks, and good driving”… i really like Mr Toyoda…

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Why is Toyota going to invest millions when both Camry and Corolla consistently outsell their segment in this and other countries, if anything they need to go back to their bulletproof reputation, many, many buyers are still attracted to that. (look at the sales numbers)

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    My takeaway was interest that the first thing Mr. Toyoda talked about improving in 2012 was the handling. Interesting priority.

    I rented a Camry this week. Nothing wrong with it – I can’t imagine why it provokes so much hatred from the carliterati. Nothing wrong with it at all, except the engine sounded boring.

    Compared to Malibu, Fusion, Altima, etc. the current Camry is just fine. In this class, the only real standouts are the Charger and Sonata, both of which look great.

    I guess the issue I have is that there is no real reason to trade in my 2004 Accord for any midsizer. Given how inexpensive the Accord is to keep running, anything new would have to be a huge step up to justify the cost.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    As a self professed nerd (our engineering honors fraternity at school had shirts that said NERD across the front in the same font as our, at the time, top 10 NCAA football team’s TEAM shirts), I’ve always preferred someone slightly nerdy like Akio Toyoda and Mullaly instead of the more brash execs like Lutz.


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