In the United States, the Camry has been the best selling car for nine of the last ten years starting in 1997, with the only exception being 2001. The Camry also sells very well in Australia, Canada, and a number of Asian markets—in particular Cambodia where the vast majority of cars are Camrys. Despite its success, it has often been criticized for its bland design and lack of sportiness compared to its rivals. It has not sold as well in Europe and its homemarket Japan; as its design is ill-suited for European and Japanese tastes.
Originally launched as the Toyota Celica Camry in January 1980 for the Japanese home market, this model was essentially a second-generation Toyota Carina with updated body-styling and a front-end that resembled a 1978 Toyota Celica XX, known as the Celica Supra in export markets.
The car was based on the rear-wheel drive Celica and was powered by either a 1.6litre 12T-U engine producing 65kilowatts (88hp) JIS and 128newton metres (94lb·ft) or a 1.8litre 13T-U engine producing 70kilowatts JIS (94hp) and 147newton metres (108lb·ft). Towards the end of its model lifecycle, Toyota introduced a sports version of the Celica Camry equipped with the 16-valve double overhead camshaft 2.0litre engine from the Celica producing 72kilowatts JIS (96hp). This is the most sought-after version of the Celica Camry in the secondhand market today.
Although it has an identical 2500millimetre (98.4in) wheelbase to the Celica, the Corona, and the Carina, it is longer than the Carina but shorter than both the Corona and Celica. During its model cycle, over 100,000units were sold in Japan. The Celica Camry was also exported to a number of markets using the Carina's name, and it replaced the second-generation Carina in these markets.
In 1982, the Camry became an independent model line, and was sold as a compact four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. There were limited exports, predominantly to right-hand-drive markets. At this point, Camry was positioned above the Carina and Corona, two other mid-sized models made by Toyota. A twin was announced at this point: the Toyota Vista.