By on August 2, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry production line - Image: ToyotaWe learned early in July that many of the early 2018 Toyota Camrys available in Toyota’s U.S. showrooms wouldn’t be built in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant.

Through June, not a single one of the 2016 and 2017 Camrys sold in America were imported. But all of the 2018 Toyota Camrys sold in July came across the Pacific from Japan.

Granted, most of the Camrys leaving Toyota showrooms are still old new Camrys, not new new Camrys.

The reason for Kentucky’s delay? Transitioning to an assembly line that runs the Toyota New Global Architecture requires “a couple steps back before it can move forward in efficiency.” Despite added workforce — Georgetown has more employees now than ever before — ramping up production in Kentucky was never intended to be an instantaneous action.

So after noticing in Toyota’s monthly sales report that Toyota sold 33,827 total Camrys but only 31,230 North American-built Camrys, we wanted to know where the 2017/2018 line was drawn.2018 Toyota Camry SE white - Image: Toyota“All 2018 Camry’s sold in July were imported from Japan,” Toyota spokesperson Sam Butto tells TTAC.

Without those new Japanese imports, the Toyota Camry was still America’s best-selling midsize car in July. (The Honda Civic was America’s top-selling car overall last month.) But rather than a modest 1-percent downturn, Camry volume would have fallen 9 percent. Instead, the first 2,587 copies of the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry accounted for 8 percent of the Camrys sold in the United States in July.

In total, the Toyota/Lexus family has relied upon non-NAFTA vehicles for 28 percent of the 1,377,222 U.S. auto sales the company’s generated in the first seven months of 2017. Toyota does, however, build more Camrys in the U.S. than any other vehicle.

Through the end of July, the Camry trails the Honda Civic by 1,722 sales in the Toyota’s quest to end 2017 as America’s top-selling car for a 16th consecutive year. Of the 212,446 Civics sold so far in 2017, 44,737 have been England-built hatchbacks.

Meanwhile, Toyota’s Butto says, “As soon as our Kentucky plant finishes ramping up for the 2018 model, all 2018 Camry’s will be manufactured here for the U.S. market.”

[Image: Toyota]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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28 Comments on “All of the New 2018 Toyota Camrys Sold in America in July Were Japan Imports...”


  • avatar
    RedRocket

    If 2018 Camrys are being sold at retail, why haven’t we seen a proper test or review yet?

    I haven’t seen any on dealer lots around here yet.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      RedRocket, I saw a new 2018 Camry parked in employee parking at a nearby business at lunch today. There is at least one retail customer who works in the SE side of Plano, TX. Toyota North American HQ is 15 miles away on the opposite side of town.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Holy schnikes look at that orange peel.

    • 0 avatar

      First thing I noticed as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      That is typical on the license plate area and other areas with low visibility, such as door jambs. The paint is usually very inconsistent.

      I think the paint gun robots are programmed to make their turnarounds in that area since most of it is covered up by the eventual number plate, anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Take a good look at most new cars the next time you are stuck in traffic. The amount of orange peel ranges from some to wow, that sucks. Price does not seem to improve things; LS Lexus aside, the majority of expensive German imports seem to be loaded with varying degrees of excessive OP. That Lexus, by the way, seems to be among the best when it comes to OP>

  • avatar
    FOG

    Who will answer the questions,

    Why?

    Are they still building 2017 Camry’s in the U.S.?

    Will they eventually build the 2018’s in the U.S.?

    Are they getting away with something?

    • 0 avatar
      gmichaelj

      I don’t know, but seems likely that 2017s are still being built for something to sell until Toyota engineers have time to teach the Colonials how to build a 2018.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Camry oil and electricity in battery is from Japan, better than the Camry in the United States.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    Toyota must have had an extra extra amount of Super White paint. Seems like 90% of the new ones are white. Anyone else notice that?

  • avatar
    cblais

    Wait, ~45k of the Civics so far this year have been hatches? Whoa – that’s not far from 25% of all Civics sold so far. Guess the hatchback really is popular again.

  • avatar
    MatadorX

    As someone with one of the last stick/v6 Camrys made, from a generation that was split Japan/USA, you definitely want a J Vin version.

    Check the junkyard and do a side by side of a used up 2000 Camry J Vin and 4 Vin. Many parts didn’t hold up as well on the USA version just due to lower grade suppliers. Door panels, headliners, door checks, trim clips, seat material, grill chroming, etc etc.

    Unfortunately V6 manual was only available in Kentucky built trim, as the manual wasn’t available in Japan or anywhere outside the USA with the V6.

    The CE (unless unicorn v6 manual) and XLE (all auto) were J Vin, the mid tier LE 4 Vin. Ive swapped many J Vin parts into mine that even from totally used up junkyard cars were perfectly fine, whereas the USA sourced component had long given up the dust.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I worked extensively on a friend’s 2002 Japan-built Honda Accord, often replacing components with junkyard parts from US-built accords.

      I found the US supplied parts to generally be both more finely made and in better shape after a decade or so of use.

  • avatar
    brn

    It’s not unusual for companies to produce locally (Japan) before they ramp up foreign (US) production. It allows you to work out production issues before attempting to do it from a distance. I’ve no problem with this.

    I do have a problem with the Camry still being touted as the most American-made vehicle on the market. This is clearly false.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      brn,
      If the US market was of that much value to Toyota in relation to the Camry, Camry production would of remained, even the new model.

      The US would of also been the export centre for the Camry. The US clearly doesn’t produce a good enough example of the Camry at a cost to high to warrant US production.

      You can see this with the Nissan Frontier. The US is years behind the global “Frontier” (Navara). The cost of setting up a plant to produce the new Frontier is expensive. But, unlike the Camry the US has blocked the importation of the new Frontier/Navara.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “I do have a problem with the Camry still being touted as the most American-made vehicle on the market. This is clearly false.”

      Aside from this run of J-VIN cars, they most certainly ARE the most American cars you can buy. American assembly with the highest percentage of American-made parts.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I was at my local Toyota dealership servicing my vehicle and while there I took a look at the 2018 Camry SE they had in the service show room. I thought it was really good looking in and out, and I’ve never been a Camry fan. This was a 4 cylinder SE with some body spoilers, side skirts, etc. Honestly, the new Camry can easily be mistaken for a Lexus ES. The inside looked great as well. The previous generation was playskool plasticky. Not anymore. It had a dual dash kind of a thing that seemed very rich and very well put together. I don’t remember what other extras it had but MSRP was 28,000. Yes, this was a white Camry and it was assembled in Japan. The label showed 55% of the parts as being from USA.
    I never thought the day would come that a Camry would impress me, but I guess that day is here.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    gimme a J vin any time. as for the orange peel? seems to me the germans are wurst at it.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’ll be! The US isn’t competitive in the auto business!

    Australia Camry production moved to Japan as well.

    This is a good idea by Toyota. The consumer will get a better and cheaper product.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      What a mindless comment Al. The Lexington plant is as I understand it Toyota’s single biggest plant outside of Japan. Here in Indiana Subaru is expanding production by starting up an Impreza line along with the upcoming Ascent. The Greensburg Honda plant added the new CRV in addition to cranking out the new Civic. Toyota in Princeton makes all the Siennas and Highlanders. Just because Australia’s auto manufacturing is in the dumps, no need to project.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        Need to be careful with Subaru Lafayette numbers. That plant made Camrys for Toyota. Camry got kicked out so Subie could increase production of Subie vehicles. Been in that plant many times. Great staff, except that one buyer.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        gtemnykh,
        That has little to do with my comment.

        Australia has some of the largest (in US speak, greatest, mostest, biggest, upsizest, etc) mines in the world, but that doesn’t mean they are raking in the cash (profits).

        gte, you seem to have caught the “US” disease, morest, biggest, upsizest, mostest …….. but sometimes lacking quality. This doesn’t make the “bestest”. There is a difference between greatest and best.

        Also, how much support do the manufacturers receive to keep them viable in the US? This is the most significant aspect of vehicle manufacturing in the US.

        It’s good and well to make statements regarding size or whatever, but peel back the veneer to find out what really is keeping things going.

        From what I can gather, the US vehicle industry is heavily reliant on protection and handouts.

        I speculate that when EVs become more mainstream you will find out which countries can manufacture without subsidies or the least subsidies.

        I remember when TVs, computers and fridges were manufactured in Australia, but they became uncompetitive.

        It’s been a long time since the US was truly the best option for vehicle manufacturing. Pre WWII very little went into the US auto industry and yet who ever worked earned a middle class living (for that period). As competition rises, industry will move down to countries better able to compete.

        In 2013 each vehicle manufactured in the US cost the taxpayer over $3 000 in subsidies. This doesn’t even count the barriers in place regarding trade. So how much extra money could the average American have to better spend elsewhere in the economy if these forms of protection and subsidisation were not in place?

        The problem is it will take the US several decades to fix up it’s auto industry. The longer it keeps on going to harder it will be to rectify.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          A long winded diatribe that really doesn’t say anything. Foreign transplants move to the US and bring with them a ton of suppliers that they localize. They flourish here and expand. What’s not to understand about that? Okay so the US made products aren’t quite Tahara-made Land Cruisers in terms of quality (then again the Tahara-made 4Runner we get in the US has the same lousy paint as a Lexington Camry). Doesn’t take away from the fact that business is doing well, Toyota is massively profitable in the US, and not just because of some sort of subsidies or some kind of tariff conspiracy of yours.


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