2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid
2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid Toyota

Toyota launched the 2012 Camry this week. Ever wonder just what, exactly, is a Camry? The name of the best-selling car in America comes from the Japanese Kan-Muri, meaning crown.

All Camrys are built at either the Tsutsumi Plant in Toyota City, Japan, TMMK in Georgetown, KY, or the SIA (Subaru of Indiana Automotive) plant in Lafayette, Indiana.

Here are some other fun facts that you might not know about one of the world's most popular sedans. Thanks to our friends at Toyota for providing us with this Camry Chronology:

Introduced in 1983 to replace the Corona, the Camry soon took its place as Toyota's value- and volume-leader.

Camry was introduced as a front-wheel drive vehicle available in either four-door sedan or five-door hatchback configuration. It won acclaim from Consumer's Digest in 1986 as a Best Buy, and has remained on the list since then.

In 1986, Toyota broke ground on an all-new production facility in Georgetown, Ky., Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (TMM), with the first U.S.-built Camry rolling out of the plant in 1988.

The 1987 model year saw the introduction of the second generation Camry. With it, Toyota also introduced a new 2.0L 16-valve four-cylinder engine, followed in 1988 by a new 2.5L 24-valve V6. The 1987 model year also saw the release of a station wagon to replace the hatchback, and the option of All-Trac, Toyota's full-time all-wheel-drive system, on all models.

Camry grew up for 1992. The third-generation model was larger in every dimension than the previous model, and Camry became classified as midsize. Engines were now 2.2L four-cylinder units (producing almost as much power as the previous V6, but with four-cylinder economy), and 3.0L V-6s. Due to dwindling sales and high engineering costs, Toyota dropped the All-Trac model. Domestic production soared and TMM became the sole production facility world-wide for the Camry station wagon.

Safety had always been an important consideration for the Camry, and in 1994, it was available with dual front airbags as standard equipment. The vehicle also met 1997 side-impact standards three years before it was required to.

1994 also saw the addition of the U.S.-built Camry coupe to the lineup. Available with both four- and six-cylinder engines and in DX, LE and SE trim levels, it brought a new audience to Camry.

All-new for 1997, the new Camry was quieter, lighter and more powerful with better ride quality and improved handling.

Both of Camry's engines received horsepower and torque increases. The new CE base-grade (replacing DX nomenclature) reintroduced the five-speed manual V6.

With an additional two inches in wheelbase, a lowered beltline and swept-back windshield, the 1997 Camry's cabin was more spacious and inviting. NVH was reduced and new convenience features included separate rear headrests, dual rear cupholders, front overhead storage console, a glove box volume increase of 29% and a second power port for cellular phones and other electronic equipment. The power mast antenna was eliminated on the LE and XLE models and replaced with an on-glass antenna.

The 1997 Camry was the safest Camry yet, meeting or exceeding all current and foreseeable crash test criteria for North America, Europe and Asia. New safety features included enhanced impact protection, a three-point seatbelt to the center rear seat, and an optional Child Restraint System (CRS) with fabric seats. Traction control, offered for the first time on a front-engine front-wheel drive Toyota, was an available option for 1997. ABS was now standard on all models except the four-cylinder CE, in which it could be ordered as a low-cost option.

For 1998, both four- and six-cylinder engines (with the exception of the five-speed/V6 combination) were rated as Low Emission Vehicles with the EPA. Other changes to the line were the introduction of the redesigned sound system head units found in all 1998 Toyotas and two new colors.

For 2000, the Camry sedan received exterior styling enhancements with a new front fascia that features a new grille and bumper design and multi-reflector headlamps. Camry's styling featured new rear combination taillights with wider horizontal reflectors and a new bumper design for a smoother appearance. Camry's side protection molding was also redesigned, with XLE models adding a chrome accent. The exterior enhancements were capped off with new 15-inch wheel covers for the LE grade and 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels for the XLE V6.

The interior received convenience upgrades in the area of audio systems, new fabric seats and value packages that include leather-trimmed interiors and power seats. The interior also received simulated wood trim as standard equipment.

For 2001, the Camry offered a special Gallery Series edition on the Camry LE grade. It featured a two-tone exterior paint, upgraded two-tone seat fabric, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, carbon fiber trimmed center stack and shift plate, chrome accent door lock levers and HVAC vents, chrome-tipped exhaust, Gallery Series badging, five-spoke aluminum wheels and chrome painted LE wheel covers.

The 2002 Camry was completely redesigned. It featured the first all-new platform in 10 years, making it roomier, quieter and more powerful. A new SE model grade was available with a sportier look. An all-new 2.4L four-cylinder with variable valve timing (VVT-i) powered the Camry. It generated 157 horsepower and achieved 23/32 mpg city/highway fuel economy. Camry also offered a 3.0L V6 that generated 192 horsepower. The V6 achieved 20/28 mpg city/highway. Both engines were EPA-certified Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV). Three model grades were offered - LE, SE and XLE. A DVD-based navigation system was newly available. This GPS system had a faster calculating time than all of its competitors in the U.S. market.

The 2003 Camry entered the new model year unchanged, with the exception of standard fog lamps on the XLE grade and available power adjustable pedals on all trim levels with automatic transmission.

The 2004 Camry received a few upgrades to select models. The SE V6 model received a new 3.3L V6 engine with VVT-i that produced 225 horsepower and 222 lb-ft of torque. XLE and SE models became available with a five-speed super electronically-controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (SECT-i). A Limited Edition Camry LE model featured a unique exterior as well as interior enhancements.

The 2005 Camry featured freshened exterior styling with redesigned headlights, taillights, grille and wheels. The interior receives several enhancements, including Optitron instrument gauge meters, and, for the LE model, chrome interior door handles and gearshift base. The LE and XLE grades featured new seat fabric, while leather seating surfaces were standard on the XLE V6 model.

On four-cylinder models, a five-speed automatic transmission replaced the four-speed automatic as an option. Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) became standard on all models, and four-cylinder models could for the first time be equipped with the optional Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system.

The 2006 Camry was a carry-over with the exception of navigation becoming available as a stand-alone option on SE V6 models.

The sixth generation, Camry was redesigned for the 2007 model year. It featured a longer wheelbase and wider track for a comfortable ride and roomy interior.

The Camry was available in four grades, CE, LE, SE and XLE and for the first time as a hybrid model featuring Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive.

The CE, LE, XLE and Camry Hybrid rode on 16-inch steel or aluminum wheels, while the sporty SE got unique aluminum 17-inch wheels. Models with the V6 engine have dual exhaust with chrome tips.

Standard features on CE models included air conditioning with a pollen filter, power windows and door locks, cruise control, Optitron gauges, tire-pressure monitor system and six-speaker 160-watt digital AM/FM/CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack.

SE models had sport-tuned suspension calibrated for a firmer ride and better handling, black honeycomb-style grille, ground-effects body enhancement, smoked tint halogen headlamps, unique sport-trimmed interior and amber-colored Optitron gauges.

XLE content included upgraded dual-zone automatic climate control with steering-wheel controls, a premium 440-watt JBL audio system with Bluetooth® technology for hands-free calling, and reclining rear seats. Four-cylinder XLE models come standard with special seat fabric designed to be gentle on the skin.

The Camry Hybrid was certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV). Its heating and air conditioning featured Plasmacluster ionizer technology which helped reduce airborne mold spores, microbe, fungi, odor, germs and bacteria inside the passenger cabin.

With the exception of updated darker wood trim on XLE grade cars, the 2008 Camry was carried over from 2007.

For 2009, the Camry was largely carried over with the exception of a change of an optional wheel finish on the LE grade. CE grade was renamed Camry grade.

For 2010, the Camry sedan received exterior styling enhancements with a new front fascia that featured a new grille and bumper design and larger projection headlamps. Camry's styling featured new rear combination taillights a new bumper design. The exterior enhancements were capped off with new alloys for XLE and SE and new wheel covers for LE.

The interior received auto up/down power window with jam protection on all four door, available USB port for auxiliary music source and Bluetooth on LE and SE models, available Smart Key on XLE four-cylinder and SE with automatic transmission. Camry Hybrid received an enhanced meter cluster and Fraichir cloth seating surfaces.

For 2011,Camry receives Smart Stop Technology to add to the Start Safety System.