Toyota Motor plans to discontinue sales of the Camry sedan in the Japanese market, focusing on countries where the automaker’s 43-year-old flagship model remains popular.
Toyota has notified Japanese dealerships that it will cease production of the Camry for domestic customers at the end of the year. Production will continue for exports.
Domestic sales will end in phases, and Toyota already has halted taking most new orders. New Camry models under development will be sold exclusively to foreign markets.
The Camry, whose name comes from the Japanese word for “crown,” is manufactured mainly in the U.S., China and the Tsutsumi Plant in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. Like the Corolla, the sedan is Toyota’s global strategic car.
Toyota has sold about 1.3 million Camrys in Japan since the vehicle debuted in 1980. The sedan retails domestically between 3.49 million yen and 4.68 million yen ($26,400 to $35,450).
The model sells in over 100 countries, with more than 21 million units purchased cumulatively through the end of 2022, data from Toyota and automotive information provider MarkLines shows. Toyota fully redesigned the Camry and released the current 10th-generation model in 2017.
The Camry is especially popular in the U.S., where more than 13 million units have sold. American consumers favor the Camry for its reliability, ease of operation and roomy interior.
The Camry ranked as the top-selling passenger vehicle in the U.S. for 15 straight years through 2016. It is known as a go-to model for the relatively high resale value it commands in the used car market.
In China and Southeast Asia, the Camry is seen as an aspirational car for its high-end image.
The Toyota RAV4 snatched the U.S. sales crown from the Camry in 2017, as sport utility vehicles have taken off in recent years.
But the Camry still enjoys steady demand, as global sales of the sedan last year totaled around 600,000 units.
Japan is a different story, however. Fewer than 6,000 Camrys sold in the market last year, due partly to the semiconductor shortage. SUVs and minivans have become more popular in Japan to hurt demand for sedans. Last year, Nissan Motor ended production of the Fuga and Honda Motor terminated the Legend.
The Camry shares similar designs and customer demographics to the all-new Toyota Crown, which launched last year. Toyota apparently has determined that the Camry has completed its role in Japan and will concentrate on tailoring the sedan for the international market.
“It’s almost like [Chinese company Bytedance] recognize[s] that technology’s influencing kids’ development, and they make their domestic version a spinach TikTok, while they ship the opium version to the rest of the world,” says Tristan Harris.
The US men’s and women’s soccer teams will share prize money from their respective World Cups equally in a historic agreement announced on Wednesday.
US Soccer and the unions for the two teams reached the deal during negotiations for their new collective bargaining agreements, which have now been ratified.
“The accomplishments in this CBA are a testament to the incredible efforts of WNT players on and off the field,” said USWNT player and USWNT players’ association president Becky Sauerbrunn. “The gains we have been able to achieve are both because of the strong foundation laid by the generations of WNT players that came before the current team and through our union’s recent collaboration with our counterparts at the [men’s players union] and leadership at US Soccer.
“We hope that this agreement and its historic achievements in not only providing for equal pay but also in improving the training and playing environment for national team players will similarly serve as the foundation for continued growth of women’s soccer both in the United States and abroad.”
USMNT defender Walker Zimmerman, who is a member of the men’s union leadership group, also welcomed the deal. “There are tough conversations, but at the end of the day, it is the right thing to do,” Zimmerman said. “It’s something that [the US women’s team players] deserve. It’s something that they have fought for so hard, and, to be honest, sometimes it does feel like we had just kind of come alongside of them and had been a little late.”
Fifa’s prize money for the men’s and women’s World Cups is unequal. The bonus pool for this year’s men’s World Cup in Qatar is $440m, while the prize money for the women’s tournament in Australia in 2023 is $60m. Under the new agreement, the unions for the US men’s and women’s teams will share the prize money from the 2022 and 2023 World Cups. The US men have already qualified for Qatar 2022, while the women’s team are the reigning women’s champions and are heavy favourites to book their place for Australia 2023 later this summer.
World Cup prize money was not the only area where equal deals were reached. Shares of ticket sales will now be equal, as will win bonuses. Some aspects of income and benefits will differ between the teams. The men will not share their $2.5m bonus for qualifying for this year’s World Cup as it was part of the their previous CBA.
“This is a truly historic moment. These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world,” said US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, who is also a former USWNT player. “US Soccer and the USWNT and USMNT players have reset their relationship with these new agreements and are leading us forward to an incredibly exciting new phase of mutual growth and collaboration as we continue our mission to become the preeminent sport in the United States.”
The US women’s team has long fought for equal treatment with the men’s team. In December 2020 they reached an agreement with US Soccer over equal work conditions with their male counterparts. The players were granted the same conditions as the US men’s team in areas such as travel, hotel accommodation, the right to play on grass rather than artificial turf, and staffing. Then, in February, the team agreed a $24m settlement that ended a six-year legal battle over equal pay.
In the wake of the terrible events of 9/11, anger and suspicion about Islam and its teachings spread throughout the United States. For a few Americans, these events led to an awakening to the rich traditions of this major world religion. Curiosity turned to admiration of a faith that in its core offers peace and solace. How would these converts adjust to life as strangers in their own hometowns?
With the Winter Olympics in full swing in Beijing, two athletes, skier Eileen Gu, and figure skater Zhu Yi, have been trending in two different social media spheres.
Both Californian-born athletes have been receiving intense backlash for changing their nationalities to compete for China.
Gu, an 18-year-old first-year Stanford student and San Francisco native, made history as the youngest-ever Olympic freestyle ski champion. Most Americans have been celebrating online, but conservative commentators are in an uproar over her decision to “switch sides” and win the gold for China.
“It’s ungrateful for her to turn her back on the country that not just raised her, but turned her into a world-class skier,” a right-wing podcaster said in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “I hope Eileen Gu likes living in China, what a traitor. Born in San Francisco, CA snd competes for Chinese money. Get out!” wrote someone on Twitter.
Gu’s response to the haters? “Cry ab it,” she wrote on TikTok after a commenter asked why she didn’t compete for the US.
Zhu Yi, also known as Beverly Zhu, is a 19-year-old Angeleno who also gave up her US citizenship to compete.
“so so so honored to be representing Team China at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics ✨,” she wrote on Instagram on Jan. 28. “Especially after having a couple rough years, I’m so grateful for those who helped me push past the negative thoughts and injuries; helping me grow throughout this journey.”
“Is she really patriotic?” one commented. “How is one person’s dream bigger than the country? It’s ass backward.” The criticisms came from all sides, with someone commenting on her TikTok this week: “Enjoy China. The bastion of freedom, right? Turncoat.”
Then when Zhu fell during competition, #ZhuYiMistake, #ShameOnZhuYi and #ZhuYiFellDown began trending on Weibo.
The social media reaction to the athletes changing nationalities surprised William Tran, vice president of the Pasadena Figure Skating Club and a figure skating judge.
“It’s completely within the rules, and something many sports are used to,” he told BuzzFeed News. “The United States has had incredible athletes from other countries represent our team, and many athletes have found success representing others.”
Zhu and Gu aren’t the only foreign-born Olympians representing China. Jake Chelios, the white son of National Hockey League star Chris Chelios, will be playing as Jie Ke Kai Liao Si on the Chinese men’s hockey team. Chelios, who is from Illinois and played hockey for a few years in China, told the Associated Press that his new name was “cool” and part of the experience of playing abroad.
“Since I’ve been over here, everything’s kind of new for me, and that’s the exciting part about playing overseas,” he said. “I know two or three words [in Chinese], but I took six years of Spanish in high school. I couldn’t even learn that, so I didn’t even try.”
Former NHL goaltender Jeremy Smith, a white man from Michigan, (competing as Jie Rui Mi Shi Mi Si) will also be competing for China. Most of the roster for China’s women’s hockey team shares heritage in the country, but have been imported from Canada and the United States.
But none of them have had the backlash experienced by Gu and Zhu.
Nationality changes have been occurring since the 1970s, Tran said, allowing athletes to compete on a world stage with more international opportunity that they may not otherwise have. “It’s not always that you’re giving up one citizenship for the other,” he said. “Some nations don’t allow for dual citizenship, but many do.”
One Chinese American user wrote on Twitter, “We’ll always be accepted as a fellow compatriot by Chinese people as long as we maintain cultural ties, while Yanks will never see us as true Americans. Haters are simply proving us right.”
I find this to be the most honest part of the discourse. “As long as we maintain cultural ties” is part of the largest criticism against Zhu, whose ability to speak Mandarin fluently has been hotly contested, while people on social media have stayed fairly quiet about a player like Chelios’s open disinterest in learning the language because he has no Chinese heritage.
But maintaining cultural ties for children of naturalized citizens in the US is not always a matter of choice. Holidays such as Lunar New Year are not yet federally recognized, meaning most states do not implement school holidays or time off work. Generational poverty and difficult living conditions for some families mean paying for language school and having regular cultural education is both a financial and time-scarce burden. And after all of that, choosing to maintain cultural ties can be dangerous, resulting in hate or violence. Fully embracing one’s own identity hinges on conditions people cannot always meet — not by desire, but circumstance.
Of course, there are other factors. Gu achieved a historic win, while Zhu did not. Skating has long been the most-followed sport at the Winter Olympics, so its athletes will tend to draw more buzz (Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu may not have won any medals but his outfits won TikTok). And the long-brewing tension between the US and China makes nationality change a more politically sensitive issue than, for example, one skier’s adjustment from Britain to Jamaica.
The jump to criticize Zhu’s and Gu’s individual patriotism toward either the US or China feels like it was never about nationality change. Instead, the online chatter seems like an opportunity to use young women’s actions to tell others who can and can’t claim identities they were born into, and to brand certain nationalities by a set of baseless rules that only further a particularly hateful perspective.
There is intense pressure on these athletes to win. Figure skating costs anywhere between $35,000 to $50,000 per year, while alpine skiing can cost up to $30,000. “Most of these sports gain most media and fan attention during the Olympics. It’s a once in a four year opportunity to be showcased,” said Tran. “If you keep that in mind, you might understand why someone might make sacrifices in order to compete there.”
Are we really going to bully young women for wanting to do well? If I were an overachieving teen desperate to compete, I’d consider changing my nationality too.