Prior to the production of the Camry Solara, the 2-door version of the Toyota Camry was simply known as the Camry Coupé. It was added to the third generation Camry lineup in 1994 to compete with the Honda Accord and other cars in its class. However, due to it never being nearly as popular as the 4-door sedan of the Camry, the Camry Coupé was dropped in 1997.
In 1999, reviving the goal to compete with other similar coupés, Toyota launched the Camry Solara. Unlike the competing Honda Accord sedan and the Accord Coupe which are updated at the same time, the Solara's development lags behind of that of the Camry sedan by a couple years. Instead of mirroring the now-fourth generation Camry's appearance, the Solara had its own unique design with a swooped roofline, heavily creased sides, and unique front and rear fascia. The second generation, based on the 2002 Camry sedan, debuted in 2004.
When the Camry sedan entered its seventh generation, there were no plans to update the Camry Solara to that platform. The Solara sold below expectations, as it inherited the unexciting handling from its Camry parent. Without a major update in the works, that left the Solara underpowered compared to the new iteration of the sedan. The Solara coupe will be discontinued after the 2008 model year, though it is rumored that the coupe will be revived in 2010 albeit on a different platform. The Solara convertible, which accounts for the majority of sales, will continue to be produced.
See Third generation Camry.
The first generation Camry Solara went on sale in the fall of 1998, as a 1999 model to replace the Camry Coupe. It was based on the mechanical platform of the previous generation Toyota Camry and was built at the TMMC facilities in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. This model featured a 4-cylinder 5S-FE 2.2L engine with 135 net HP (101 kW), and 147lb·ft (199N·m) of torque @ 4400 rpm (199 Nm), and a V6 1MZ-FE 3.0 L engine with 200 net HP @ 5,200 rpm (149 kW), and 214lb·ft (290N·m) of torque @ 4,400 rpm (290 Nm) with a 0 to 60 of 7.1 seconds, both of which are identical engines to the 4th generation Camry, but slightly revamped to have a small gain in power (2 hp and 6hp (4kW), respectively).