Toyota Camry patent filings – Click above for high-res image gallery

Toyota may be having some brand image troubles, what with all of the bad press it has been getting lately, but we mustn't forget that the Japanese automaker produces many of America's most popular cars, including the best-selling car in the U.S., the Camry.

Those keeping close watch will remember that the Camry received a very minor facelift for the 2010 model year, with the car receiving more Corolla-like styling, albeit in a more substantial package. However, one of our tipsters sent us these United States Patent and Trademark Office filing images of what appears to be the next-generation Camry, possibly slated for the 2012 model year. The sedan's dimensions don't seem to have changed too much, and the overall styling theme is still very conservative – in fact, it looks more milquetoast than the 2010 model that is presently in dealerships. The front fascia ditches the angular design of the current car for a smoother, more traditional design, and we see more pronounced taillamps out back, likely using LED strips like those on the 2011 Avalon. If anything, the vehicle in these images looks similar to the ASEAN market Camry that was retouched last year, but it is still clearly different.

Timing-wise, we wouldn't expect to see the official reveal until later this year or even early next year (2011 Detroit Auto Show, perhaps?). In the meantime, click through the gallery below to see the patent filing scans from all angles. A tip of the hat to RPB!

UPDATE: This is one of those times where we make like a point guard who just blew a pass to the open guy on a breakaway, tap our chests, and mouth, "My bad." As some of you noticed, the car pictured above is indeed the current Australian-market Toyota Aurion, itself a derivative of, yes, the Camry. Now, why would the Aurion show up in a U.S. patent filing? Perhaps the car's fascias are headed here as a cheap 'n easy facelift for the Camry. After all, it'd be a pretty significant change (for hyper-conservative Toyota, that is). It also does look better than the current Camry - in a differently-anonymous way. Also, if Toyota is going to Aurion-ize the Camry in the U.S., the least they could do is offer this while they're at it. Right? For a better look at the Aurion in living color, check out the second gallery below.

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