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First official look: Toyota's Camry Hybrid is road-ready

In production: Australia's Camry Hybrid in final showroom guise.

Toyota marks the start of production for its Camry Hybrid two months before sales

Toyota logo11 Dec 2009

By MARTON PETTENDY

TOYOTA Australia today revealed its vital new Camry Hybrid sedan, which goes on sale as the nation’s first locally-built petrol-electric vehicle in February.

The landmark vehicle made its first official appearance in final production guise at an official line-off ceremony at the Altona plant this morning, when Toyota marked the official start of production.

As we reported yesterday, an action shot of a blue pre-production version released on Wednesday gave us our first undisguised look at the finished product, as part of Toyota’s gradual reveal program for the car, which has included media drives of pilot vehicles.

Today’s reveal of a white Camry Hybrid with full leather trim, foglights and a reversing camera indicates the petrol-electric version will be available in at least two specifications.

As previously reported, the Camry Hybrid is expected to be priced at a premium of at least $3500 over Toyota Australia’s regular four-cylinder petrol Camry sedan, which is offered in four model grades.

Toyota said it will ship 300 examples to New Zealand, from a total annual production of 10,000 vehicles.

8 center imageNo new details on the model were provided today, with Toyota reiterating news that it expects the Camry Hybrid to produce less than 150 grams per kilometre of CO2 and use at least 35 per cent less fuel than its locally built six-cylinder competitors in Holden’s Commodore, Ford’s falcon and, presumably, Toyota’s own Aurion.

As already revealed, the Hybrid Camry’s 2.4-litre petrol engine and electric drive motor combination, which will deliver around 140kW – up from the standard model’s 117kW – is expected to return official average fuel consumption in the low six litres per 100km range (down from the standard model’s 8.8L/100km figure).

Previously, Toyota said that compared with the “most fuel-efficient big Aussie six”, the Camry Hybrid would use 40 per cent less fuel on the official urban cycle and 25 per cent less on the highway cycle.

Currently, while the Aurion returns 9.9L/100km, the most efficient Australian-built six-cylinder is the Commodore 3.0-litre V6, which has an official combined fuel economy rating of 9.3L/100km, easily making the Camry Hybrid Australia’s most fuel-efficient homegrown model.

Toyota said the car’s fully imported petrol-electric drivetrain will be strictly limited in its supply, with Camry Hybrid vehicles also produced in Japan, Thailand and the US.

Australia’s Camry Hybrid, which also features specific suspension and steering tuning to give it crisper handling than the standard model, comes relatively late in the life of the current generation Camry, which received a midlife model makeover in recent month’s and is expected to be replaced within two years. The US version of the next-generation Camry is expected to appear as soon as late 2010.

Toyota Australia president and CEO Max Yasuda said the Camry Hybrid is one of the most significant developments in Toyota’s 50-year history in Australia.

“We want to build a sustainable industry that provides innovative and attractive vehicles for our customers and a technology and manufacturing base that attracts on-going investment,” said Mr Yasuda.

“We will have the unique advantage in our market of producing and selling a four-cylinder hybrid family car. It will enable every household across the country to have the opportunity of having a locally built hybrid in their driveway.

“Both the federal and Victorian governments have demonstrated their strong desire for the local industry to build vehicles that help meet the challenges of climate change and a carbon-constrained future.

“The support of Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan was a great vote of confidence in the ability of our company. It has enabled us to respond to the needs of Australian motorists by introducing fuel-saving and environmentally conscious technology as a mainstream option,” he said.

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