The Toyota Camry, An Indian American Classic

Toyotas are efficient, reliable, and affordable. But for a generation of Indian immigrants, one of its models means so much more.

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Shamla Shankar with her Toyota Camry (Courtesy of Shamla Shankar)

Ayesha Le Breton


February 27, 2024


9 min

For fintech investor Sheel Mohnot, the Toyota Camry was a regular sighting at his temple in Monroeville, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Growing up and going to the temple, just every second car was a Camry,” he recalled. Mohnot has since relocated to San Francisco, where one out of every three cars outside the Jain temple in Milpitas, northern California, is a Camry. 

In 2020, he tweeted, “How many Indian American American stereotypes do you see in this one photo?” The photo was of a navy Camry with a license plate that read “HINDI” and a decal on the bumper declaring “proud parents of Parth Singh Parihar perfect SAT score - 2400.” 

The Toyota Camry has been on the scene since 1983, dominating the U.S. automobile market as the best-selling sedan since 1997 (except for 2001, when the Honda Accord briefly took the mantle). But more than anything else, the car has become synonymous with Indian Americans.

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