Toyota Motor Corp's <7203.T> best-selling 2013 Camry received a "poor" crash-test rating on Thursday from an insurance industry group that awarded high marks to Honda Motor Co's <7267.T> redesigned Accord sedan.
The Camry -- the top-selling passenger car in the United States for 14 of the past 15 years -- and the Accord were among a group of 2013-model midsize cars tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit group funded by the insurance industry.
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The 2012 Camry, after it was redesigned last year, was named a Top Safety Pick by IIHS. It also received a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as part of the federal safety group's New Car Assessment Program.
IIHS this year has implemented a more stringent frontal crash test, designed to "replicate what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole."
It said only two cars -- the 2013 Accord and the 2013 Suzuki Kizashi <7269.T> -- received the top rating of "good" in the new test. Two cars -- the 2013 Camry and the 2013 Toyota Prius v -- received the lowest rating of "poor."
Eleven cars, including the redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion and 2013 Nissan Altima <7201.T>, were rated "acceptable" and three cars, including the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and the 2013 Hyundai Sonata, were rated "marginal."
"Toyota engineers have a lot of work to do to match the performance of their competitors," IIHS said in a statement released Thursday with the latest crash-test results.
Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said the automaker "will respond to the challenge."
"We are evaluating the new test protocols and can say that there will not be one single solution to achieve greater crash performance in this area," Michels said.
Through November, Camry's U.S. sales totaled 373,479, up 36 percent from the previous year, while Accord sales totaled 302,444, up 39 percent.
(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Dan Grebler)