It's the kind of heavyweight battle usually reserved for HBO or a summertime blockbuster: the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord — two of the industry's most recognizable nameplates — duking it out for sales supremacy.
One is perennially the best-selling car in America. The other claims to be the best-seller to retail customers.
But the marketing efforts underway at both brands aren't just about the horse race or bragging rights. They're about keeping these titans of the midsize car segment — both of them just redesigned for the 2018 model year — relevant in a marketplace where crossovers are the rage and sporty, entry-level vehicles from luxury brands are tempting buyers of mainstream sedans.
Honda and Toyota have set out marketing strategies that are different yet share common objectives: Keep current owners from defecting to other brands, bring in newcomers and stem the defections to crossovers.
While industry sales are down just 1.7 percent through October, demand for midsize sedans has dropped 15 percent. Industry analysts don't expect much of a course correction in the near term.
Both Honda and Toyota make market-leading crossovers, but they still face pressure to reap returns on investments in their brand-defining sedan models.