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NEW YORK -- Under pressure from a raft of rivals, Toyota showed off its redesign of the Toyota Camry on Wednesday to start off the York Auto Show with what is likely to be the most important introduction.

The new design is considered one of the top developments at the show here simply because of the car's popularity: It is America's top selling sedan. And though Toyota could have played it safe, it didn't hold back.

The new Camry is redesigned both inside and out. "We stripped the current Camry almost to the chassis and started almost from scratch," Toyota division chief Bill Fay told hundreds at the car's formal unveiling.

The new Camry gets a look more in line with that of the also popular compact Corolla, with a narrower nose and more side sculpting. Extra welds were added to the body for more rigidity to improve driving characteristics, plus a refined suspension, Fay says. Inside, there is a nicer, soft-touch interior. "Only the roof (line) remains unchanged," he says.

"America's favorite car just got better," Fay says. Analysts are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

"It's almost a required move by Toyota at this point given the challenge they are facing from the competition and how hard they had to push to stay the top seller in the segment this year," says Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "I think it will make a difference, but I don't think the styling alone is going to change the car's trajectory in the segment, which is increased competition."

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