Using the Camry as the pace car for next year's Daytona is a big statement by Toyota. For generations, the pace car has only ever been a large American muscle car. The only other non-American car to feature as the pace car in Daytona's history was the Porsche 914 back in 1971. Ed Laukes, Toyota’s corporate manager of motorsports marketing, recently spoke about the Daytona campaign, saying
"We’re thrilled to be able to feature the new Camry in Daytona at the season’s biggest race. We think the Daytona 500 is the perfect place to showcase the all-new Camry, which will go on sale this fall."We knew when the opportunity arose to partner together with Daytona that it would be an extraordinary way to highlight our new Camry, as well as reinforce Toyota’s commitment to NASCAR and its fans."
Toyota is serious about tapping into other, more sporty market segments with the new Camry, and is calling the new model the "reinvented Camry and Camry Hybrid". But it's not just about being sporty, Toyota also wants to maintain its lead in annual sales in the US, a market where the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car (not including trucks) in 13 out of the past 14 years.
From next year, the US-spec 2012 Toyota Camry won't be imported from Japan. Instead, it will be built at local production facilities as a way of becoming more independent from the Japanese operations. Toyota Japan is also doing this as part of its plan to make its production processes earthquake-proof.
If you ever wanted to see a hybrid do a burnout, now is your chance. Take a look at the latest advertisement below and tell us what you think. Can Toyota pull off a sporty image with the new Camry?