Toyota Motor Corp.
was already counting on the revamped Camry to spark a U.S. sales rally. The carmaker’s flagship model is now under additional pressure as a stronger currency and Thailand’s floods cut into profit.
The company reduced its earnings forecast last week by more than 50 percent for the year ending in March, blaming a slump in production after Thailand’s worst floods in almost 70 years. The 2012 Camry was released in October with a goal of boosting sales hurt by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami and retaining its title as the top-selling U.S. passenger car.
“There’s a lot of pressure on that car,” said Maryann Keller, an auto analyst and president at Maryann Keller & Associates. “It’s been reviewed as being competitive within the midsize sedan segment, but not that much better or worse than competitors. Right now, the perceived design leader is Hyundai’s Sonata, and Kia’s Optima is also doing well.”