A Tale Of Two (Three, More) Camrys

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Apparently, this is Camry week. TTAC has already thrown two of its most feared and revered auto testers, Michael “Hard Plastic Killer” Karesh and Alex “Yellow Fever” Dykes, into the battle – with similar, yet finely nuanced results. Yours truly has arrived in Tokyo, where he cools his heels (as much as a thermostat set to electricity-saving 82F allows,) until the JDM Camry is unveiled on Sept. 5 to by then totally Camry-numb members of the media.

Alas, your correspondent of the car wars has left China too early, because the global Camry conflict has shifted to the Middle Kingdom, which finds itself in search of the core Camry character.

Our MrWhopee (which I hope is a riff on “making whoopee” and not on the same-named cushion) opined that the reviewed Camry is “sold in U.S. only, the rest of the world (well, at least Asians) got different look Camry.” After the admonition to use “Asians” a bit more sparingly (they are – sometimes fiercely – proud of their differences, and despite alluring alliterations, one rarely sees Camrys created for Caucasians) – it seems that Whopee is right! At least in a large part of “Asia” called China.

Chinacartimes reports that “it seems that the Chinese Camry and the US Camry will have some minor differences when they both make it to dealerships.” Says CCT:

“The Chinese one seems to have minor changes around the front fog lights that has turned them from diagonal into sweet little round buttons, on the inside the two Camry’s look quite similar, but look closely at the central area and you will see that the GPS buttons are different and the Chinese version doesn’t have any drinks holders. The Communists stole our drinks holders!”

(The writer – I can attest to that – loves his drinks, so I will not editorially touch his “drinks holders.”) Now are these the only items that are different? TTAC’s image analysts have provided side-by-side views of official Toyota Camry (U.S. spec) and utterly unofficial Toyota Camry (Chinese spec) imagery, and in the wise words of Fox News: We report, you deride.

But whoa, that’s not the only difference! If Chinacartimes is correctly informed, “ Two Camry’s will also be sold side by side in the Chinese market, the older Camry will become known as the Camry Classical.” That would not be unusual. In this part of “Asia,” people are prudent, and they just hate to throw away perfectly serviceable stuff, such as previous gen platforms.

In ten days, we’ll know what Camry-incaration will be sold in that other part of “Asia,” called Japan. There, they absolutely despise anything that is “boro-boro” (tired, worn out, old) and they always go for the latest “hayari” (craze, fad, fashion).

I never thought I’d have to look whether buttons are round or on the egg side of things, but I guess this is how it – shapes up.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • MrWhopee MrWhopee on Aug 26, 2011

    Speaking of Camrys, TTAC just posted a picture of a version of Camry (From Ukraine) that I would predict is what our future Camry (and the Aurion) will look like.

  • Eldard Eldard on Aug 26, 2011

    Looks like they didn't even bother trying on the US Camry.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.