RICK KRANZ

Prediction: Camry will keep sales title

The 2012 Camry's instrument panel and the upgrades in materials create a more refined interior compartment -- something the Camry has needed for a long time.
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Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.
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DETROIT -- Here's my prediction: The redesigned 2012 Camry will hold on to its ranking as the No. 1 selling car.

The car was unveiled today at simultaneous events in California, Kentucky, New York, and Michigan.

Here are several reasons why:

• Price: Toyota has reduced the price of its Camry models. The 2012 LE is $200 less than the 2011 model. The SE's price was chopped $1,000; the XLE's was cut $2,000; and the hybrid's is down $1,150. Meanwhile, competitors have been increasing sticker prices during the 2011 model year. Look for the competition to step in line, reluctantly.

• The car's new instrument panel and the upgrades in materials create a more refined interior compartment -- something the Camry has needed for a long time.

• The exterior dimensions are essentially unchanged, but Toyota was able to find more interior space.

• Styling: Every piece of metal has been changed. Yet you need to position the redesigned 2012 Camry alongside a 2011 to tell the difference. Toyota plays it safe again and creates exterior styling that won't turn heads or embarrass the car owner. That styling philosophy has worked in the past.

The redesigned 2012 Camry goes on sale in October. Expect it to be a hit. Did you expect anything less?

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