The best-selling vehicle in the United States, the Toyota Camry, is set to undergo a significant change in the coming years. Starting with the 2025 model year, the Camry will be available solely as a hybrid vehicle. Presently, the Camry is offered in both hybrid and combustion engine variants. However, the 2025 Camry will only be available as a hybrid, featuring a combination of a gas-powered engine and an electric motor. This change aligns the Camry with other Toyota models, including the Sienna minivan, Venza and Sequoia SUVs, and the Prius, that are exclusively produced as hybrids.
The decision to make the Camry a pure hybrid showcases the widespread acceptance of advanced technology in the automotive industry. It also reflects the readiness of customers to embrace hybrid technology in the best-selling sedan segment. Toyota, known for its calculated approach to innovation, recognizes the changing demands of consumers and aims to provide hybrid versions of all its vehicles in the near future.
While Toyota currently offers only three models – the GR86 and Supra sports cars, and the 4Runner SUV – without a hybrid option or announcement, the shift towards hybridization indicates a direction towards a greener future for the company. The Camry, in particular, holds a special place in Toyota’s lineup as the best-selling non-SUV/pickup vehicle in the United States for the past two decades. It stands alongside the Prius as one of the most recognizable Toyota models.
The introduction of the Toyota Prius in the United States market in 2001 marked a significant milestone in the adoption of hybrid technology. Initially perceived as forward-thinking and slightly nerdy, the Prius became the first widely popular hybrid automobile with some tweaks. Toyota quickly recognized the potential of hybrid technology and incorporated it into other models. Over the last two decades, Toyota hybrids have gained popularity, with the Prius leading the way.
Despite a general decrease in vehicle prices over the last few months, customers continue to pay more for Toyota’s hybrid models compared to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Edmunds.com data reveals that customers are willing to pay up to 2.5% above the MSRP for Toyota hybrids. This trend holds true even though fully electric vehicles (EVs) are available at lower prices due to substantial rebates not applicable to most hybrids.
Industrial analyst Tyson Jominy explains that while the EV market is expanding, the presence of numerous electric cars within the $500,000 to $600,000 price range has led to retailers offering discounts to attract customers. On the other hand, hybrids provide a simpler transition for customers as they do not require any changes in routine and consume less fuel, resulting in fewer refills. Jominy highlights that demand for Toyota hybrids like the Sienna, Corolla, Grand Highlander, and Corolla Cross continues to outstrip supply.
Toyota has approached the EV market with caution, offering only two SUVs – the BZ4X and the Lexus RZ 450e – in the United States. The company has voiced skepticism about consumer willingness to adopt fully electric vehicles and believes that hybrids are a more efficient use of expensive batteries in terms of reducing global carbon emissions. Despite this cautious approach, Toyota has recently announced plans to aggressively adopt electric vehicles while expanding the lineup of hybrid models.
The new Camry, along with other Toyota hybrids, will not be a plug-in hybrid. Instead, the four-cylinder engine will charge the batteries that power two electric motors, generating up to 225 or 232 horsepower depending on the drivetrain configuration. Similar to other hybrid models, the Camry’s batteries will be charged when the brakes are applied, harnessing energy from regenerative braking.
In addition to the Camry, Toyota also unveiled the all-new 2018 Camry and a new hybrid SUV called the Crown Signia. The Crown Signia is a hybrid sport utility vehicle with four-wheel drive and a sleek design reminiscent of Toyota’s luxury Crown sedan. These additions to the Toyota lineup demonstrate the company’s commitment to advancing hybrid technology and expanding its range of eco-friendly vehicles.
As the best-selling vehicle in the United States takes on a hybrid-only future, Toyota is poised to lead the charge towards a greener automotive industry. By embracing advanced technology and responding to shifting customer preferences, the company is setting the stage for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious transportation landscape. The Camry’s transition to a pure hybrid model represents a significant step forward in Toyota’s ongoing commitment to innovation and creating a better tomorrow.