There are many ways to describe the Toyota Camry: "comfortable," "economical," "affordable," "reliable" and "dull as a bucket of mayonnaise" would all be accurate. It's this last one that the Japanese brand is seeking to change. While we aren't expecting it to suddenly sprout a high-revving V8, a rear-drive layout or razor-sharp handling, a report from Bloomberg suggests we should at least expect a more evocative design from one of the best-selling cars in the country.

The next Camry update, due for 2015, should have a "more emotional, more impactful design," says Kevin Hunter, head of Toyota's US design studio. That's according to Bloomberg, who caught up with the styling boss at this week's Detroit Auto Show. "Camry's taken some hits on styling, but it's still selling well. But we need to create better design for Camry in the future."

Toyoda wants to see waku-doki in his company's designs – heart-racing qualities

Hunter is right – the world of the midsize family sedan is no longer a realm of dreary designs. Cars like the Ford Fusion and Kia Optima both feature a design presence that allows them to stand out on the road, while new competitors like the Chrysler 200 and upcoming Hyundai Sonata should make for strong competitors. It isn't just pressure from other manufacturers that is convincing Toyota to build a more stylish Camry, though. It's a direct order from the man in charge, Akio Toyoda.

Toyoda wants to see waku-doki in his company's designs – a Japanese phrase that's short for heart-racing qualities, and the first two recipients of Toyoda's directive are set to be the Camry and Prius, arguably the marque's two most important models. "I would not go so far as saying we could be adventurous, but at least more aggressive," Kazuo Ohara, Toyota's US sales boss, said of the next Camry. Ohara admits today's design is probably a bit too conservative.

Following reports that 2014 would be a big year for the Camry, we're starting to wonder what to expect from a model that is due for a mid-cycle refresh. Ohara wouldn't give Bloomberg specifics, but did indicate that a more "emotional" exterior was in the cards, as well as better interior packaging and materials.


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  • 150 Comments
      speterjr
      • 11 Months Ago
      But, in all seriousness, I doubt that Camry customers want any kind of excitement from their car. What Toyota should do is revive the Solara coupe, and channel all the emotional, expressive style into that model. Or, since "coupes don't sell," Toyota could do a "four-door coupe" bodystyle on the Camry platform, like the Volkswagen Passat CC.
      Mike S
      • 11 Months Ago
      If the designers at Toyota want more emotional design, I certainly hope they consider wheel design. No other modification changes the character of a car better than the design of the wheels. A man can wear a great suit, or a woman can don a great dress, but if the shoes they wear are dull and boring, neither the suit nor the dress make a good statement. Why is good wheel design segregated to "sport" editions? And if Toyota really wish to design for emotion, they'll have to change the Camry's sheet metal, too, and I mean ALL of it.
      ffelix422
      • 11 Months Ago
      Just bring in whoever over saw the 2014 Toyota Avalon redesign. That car is an Audi A7 "knock-off" and makes most of Lexus's offerings look overdone at best.
      Ron Boisselle
      • 11 Months Ago
      You mean it is less NASCAR. It never was just a wanta be look anyways
      John Weiss
      • 4 Months Ago

      We are Excited to see This wonderful Camry.  Weiss Toyota Scion will be happy to answer any other questions you have. Camry is one exciting ride and has always been about more than just getting you to a destination. It’s been about the fun of sharing and doing things together. Whether it’s a dash to the Arch, or getting the whole family together, Camry is eager to get going. If your are looking for a Toyota Camry dealer in St Louis MO, then Weiss Toyota Scion is the place to visit.

      Black Dyanmite
      • 11 Months Ago
      Fusion's sexy styling has gotten it.......4th place in the class, which is where it was before. Camry's, and Accord's, conservative style have gotten then #1 and #2 spots. Do the math on who's right and who's wrong in their approach to the family sedan market. Sex doesn't sell here..... BD
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        [blocked]
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        [blocked]
        Dan
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        Sex does not sell in this market because the buyers in this market are dead dreary un imaginative people. They buy what they like, dull dreary lifeless boring cars. God help us with this type of human being the majority.
      Black Dyanmite
      • 11 Months Ago
      King Camry will sell another 400-410k, and remain there with the 2015 Camry (coming to the Chicago Auto Show next month) getting more power, CVT transmission, better fuel economy, and more features and styling. I predicted that last year, and was right. Again. King Camry's reign at the top will continue indefinitely! BD
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        [blocked]
          • 11 Months Ago
          [blocked]
        Rayman
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        When your on the freeway and it is crawling remember there's a couple of Toyotas causing it. Toyota the cars of the bland and boring people!
        Dave
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        In what world is this car worth getting so damn excited about that you have to speckle posts about king Camry all over the place??? This car is and will always be Vanilla, Milquetoast, boring, bland, take your pick.
        merlot066
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        Are you really that slow? Camry sales were up .9% for the year with increased fleet sales and no supply constraints. Accord sales were up 10.5% for the year. Fusion was up 22.4% for the year with several months of limited supply, especially for the hybrid model, and continuously decreasing fleet sales. "King" Camry is not long for this world. Fusion will remain the best-selling American car and Honda will likely catch up to #1 soon. Another year of growth for the Fusion could see the Camry drop to #3 as it will undoubtedly see a full year loss next year unless they pile on more incentives.
          zoom_zoom_zoom
          • 11 Months Ago
          @merlot066
          So Dean Hammond, read a recent article about Ford cutting production of the Fusion. Ford giving massive incentives to move the Fusion. Got a link proving Ford is reducing fleet sales. According to "Automotive News" Fusion fleet sales remaining high at 34%
          merlot066
          • 11 Months Ago
          @merlot066
          Ford is being proactive in cutting Fusion production. http://www.autonews.com/article/20140103/RETAIL01/140109966/f-series-fusion-drive-ford-gains# The Fusion has been awarded "Fleet Car of the Year" for several years in a row and is extremely popular among commercial fleets. Ford has been cutting rental fleets dramatically with only 9% of sales going to rental fleets in December. P.S. I'm not Dean, you and Aaron need to figure that out soon.
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 11 Months Ago
      LOL at the Autoblog fanboies saying the Camry needs "handling". People that buy the Camry buy for one reason. It's comfortable and cruises with ease. Buyers of the Camry are not interested in Autocrossing.
        poopoohead100
        • 11 Months Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        Everyone wins when cars are engineered to be fun to drive. Normal people who don't care about driver engagement won't notice and will just appreciate the fuel economy and space. Enthusiasts are happy because they can still have fun while hauling around their families. What's the downside?
          flychinook
          • 11 Months Ago
          @poopoohead100
          "Normal people who don't care about driver engagement won't notice" Better handling usually comes at the expense of comfort. They'll notice that.
          • 11 Months Ago
          @poopoohead100
          [blocked]
          James
          • 11 Months Ago
          @poopoohead100
          All sedans nearly drive the same.
          poopoohead100
          • 11 Months Ago
          @poopoohead100
          The previous generations of Honda Accords were praised for their communicative steering and competent chassis. They sold extremely well and were relatively fun to drive, economical, and reliable. So no, having a fun to drive car doesn't mean it has to be uncomfortable and people won't buy them.
      Black Dyanmite
      • 11 Months Ago
      ALL of Toyota's new designs have Akio's aggressive sporting influence, even the ultra-conservative Corolla. And they've all been hits in the market. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. People don't buy Camrys, or Accords, for sex appeal. They buy them because they're studs. They'd sell if they were sexy or not. But I say if it ain't broke, and King Camry is dominating as per usual, don't fix it. The SE model did see a ton of new sales in the redesign, running up to 40% of all Camrys sold, so they may have run their tests and seen it the edginess as a way to go forward. But don't get too cute. Toyota doesn't need heavy fleet sales or look-at-me styling, like Ford's Fusion, to get a signature. Leave the desperate measures to them. Toyota and Honda have proven this market is very conservative, and isn't interested in the frills. Being King Camry is more than enough..... BD
        fran
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        "King Camry"- overkill much? Try 'King Boring'. And Ford Fusion's new design is Camry's wet dream!
          Black Dyanmite
          • 11 Months Ago
          @fran
          And Camry sales are Fusions' Neither will catch the other. I'll take the cash..... BD
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        [blocked]
      bootsnchaps60
      • 11 Months Ago
      Wonder whose designs they'll imitate next?
      getrickyj
      • 11 Months Ago
      Article left out the Mazda6 which in my opinion is easily the most exciting car in the midsize category.
        Carmaker1
        • 11 Months Ago
        @getrickyj
        My parents bought a '14 GT by my suggestion last year as an auxiliary car (nanny, house guest car, etc.) and it fits in perfectly with their all-luxury stable (Audi, Bentley, BMW, Jaguar, Infiniti, etc.). Most of their guests assume it's a luxury car and are shocked to find out it isn't. It's a far cry from the humble 1991 626 we owned many years ago, a car I still miss. It's unfortunate the Camry still gets more general recognition than such a thoroughly superb production from Mazda. Mazda hadn't been this great since the 929/Amati planning days nor has the Camry since MY1996 and has yet to truly be.
        Dan
        • 11 Months Ago
        @getrickyj
        Yep we have a 2014 in the garage and my wife loves the car. She sat in the Camry, got out and said lets leave, end of that deal.
      Andy Grey
      • 11 Months Ago
      Sorry, I never EVER felt emotional about my fridge or my washing machine.
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