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Toyota Camry boosts sales

Friday, August 17, 2012    

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DETROIT, USA (AP) — A sporty version of the new Camry is helping the car shed its ho-hum image.

It's also drawing in younger buyers who are driving a huge sales increase for America's top-selling car.

Through July, Camry sales were up almost 40 per cent to 244,000. That's 60,000 more than its closest competitors, the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.

The rising sales are helping Toyota find its way back from three years of embarrassing safety recalls and natural disasters, and the new customers are broadening the company's greying customer base.

Overall, sales of the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands are up 28 per cent so far this year, reaching more than 1.2-million vehicles. The company has taken back sales from GM, Ford and others — gaining nearly two points of US market share. Much of the big increase is because Toyota ran short of cars last year and dealers had few to sell. A March earthquake and tsunami in Japan hobbled the company's factories, and supplies didn't return to normal until the middle of this year.

Yet the return of normal factory production doesn't tell the full story, Bob Carter, Toyota's senior vice- president of auto operations in the US, said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. Younger buyers, especially those attracted to the Camry sport edition, also are boosting sales.

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