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Big changes at Toyota's Kentucky factory

…will yield much more efficient production, and a Camry with a much stiffer chassis and improved handling.

I think it is interesting that one of the Toyota guys admits that Camrys haven’t been among the better-handling sedans until this 2018 total redesign.

Why not admit that Camry’s handling has been poor? It’s well known outside Toyota, and they do seem to be responsive if the market demands a response. For quite a while, they didn’t need to make changes since they sold enough to justify staying the course. Most buyers didn’t want a car that could take cornered at 20 MPH; 5 MPH was fine with them. As long as the ride isn’t too stiff, the car will still be fine for them.

That “lack” of handling didn’t seem to affect sales all that much, did it? I’d say that they did a fine job using the structure they had to get an excellent performing family sedan. Likely not good enough for a sports coupe but then Toyota didn’t make one off the Camry platform. Other cars, sure, but not a sports coupe.

I think Toyota is doing a very smart thing. The more flexibility they engineer into the plant the quicker they can react to market changes to remain profitable. Also, good for the Kentucky workers.

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This seems to be a win-win for consumers, and for the folks who work at that assembly plant.

I think Toyota meant the Camry Solara to be a sport coupe. It has been several years since they discontinued the Solara. The V6 in recent years had enhanced handling and impressed a number of reviewers while none of the 4-cyl models did. They could always do it when they wanted to. They just chose not to for most of the Camry line up.

My experience with Camrys handling has been very favorable. I’ve driven a few rather hard. They were competent and controllable. That’s why I used quotes on the “lack” of handling comment. They really don’t lack handling. Better structure will help ride as well as handling so that’s all good.

A buddy and I even made a track day car out of one 230,000 mile 4 door, 4 cylinder automatic '91 Camry. We used a V6 stabilizer bar and springs cut down to get the ride height. Super long jounce bumpers to act as extra springs. Wide, low profile front tires with skinny narrow rears and -3 degrees of camber in the front. It looked broken. Slow on the straights but she’d stick with anything in the corners with the slight modifications we made!

Well, Edmunds sure seemed to like the 2012 Camry SE with the 4 they tested:

I think the Camry is the favorite ‘whipping boy’ for many journalists. Actual buyers don’t have the same need for a ‘driver’s car’, and with good reason. Comfortable, reliable transportation is much higher on their lists.


I would venture to say that a huge percentage of drivers couldn’t distinguish between extremely good handling/cornering and mediocre road manners.

Ride quality? Yes, virtually anyone could give you a valid opinion on that point, but handling quality is something that would elude a whole lot of drivers.

That’s EXACTLY what I’m looking for

Having a fun ride to/from work is simply not important for me

Not to mention my bad back, it’s pointless for me to buy a car with a responsive and harsh ride

I think you stated it perfectly.


Actual buyers don’t have the same need for a ‘driver’s car’, and with good reason. Comfortable, reliable transportation is much higher on their lists.


I find the Camry has a very comfortable ride. That’s what I’m looking for in a vehicle on a long trip. Handling? Not so much.

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That was #1 on our list when we bought our 07 Lexus. Actually it was #1 on wifes list since it’s her car. We test drove the Acura TL and I liked that one better because it had better handling. But wife wanted comport and reliability and quiet above all else. Obviously the Lexus had to be somewhat responsive. We find the Lexus responsiveness more then adequate for our needs.

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I think GM listened too much to the writers: the current line of Cadillacs is very performance-oriented, and their sales stink.

Cadillac is trying to compete with German luxury cars primarily. That is a big change from attempting to be the best of the Detroit 3 luxury barges. It takes a lot of time to make a change like that. First they have to build vehicles that can compare favorably to Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz. Then they have to take buyers away from them. Moving into a different segment is difficult to do. I drove a CT-6 and it is a terrific car. Sizewise, it is between a midsize (E300) and full size (S550) and isn’t as luxurious and the A8, 750i, or S550. The CTS already fits in the midsize market and Cadillac claims that a new full size car is on the way in a couple of years. If I wanted to spend $65,000 on a sedan, the CT-6 would definitely be on the list. Pricewise, its closer to the 5xx series or C300 when comparably equipped.

Buick is trying to compete with Lexus. They are on par with reliability, but they don’t have a car that competes with the E350 in luxury. They top trim level of the LaCrosse is close to the base E350, But that is just the beginning of the E350 line. GM does have a ways to go in the luxury category.

Perhaps Honda is trying to appeal to the wives rather than to us?
Wives buy the Accords, and they aren’t impressed by snazzy looks. They like comfort, reliability, affordability, and (this one’s a biggie) familiarity.