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Final Toyota Camry to be fitting farewell

Strong finish: Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the final Aussie-built Camry – spied by GoAuto on Melbourne streets last month – will be a tribute to customers and the car-maker’s employees.

Toyota’s local sales boss says last locally made Camry will be a tribute to workers

8 Jan 2015

TOYOTA’S final Australian-made Camry will be a tribute to customers, dealers and the car-maker’s workers, according to the the company’s local marketing boss, and it will spearhead the arrival of 10 new or refreshed models in 2015.

Speaking at the 2014 Motor Industry Results announcement this week where the Camry was crowned the best-selling mid-sized car for the 21st year running, Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said considerable investment had been made to ensure a fitting finish to the car’s production in this country.

“We’re investing big money – many millions,” he said.

“That’s our commitment to the people that have made Camry, to the customers that have bought Camry and to our employees, the suppliers and the dealers.” Production of the Camry is expected to end in late 2017when Toyota closes its local manufacturing operations. The Camry will then be imported into Australia, most likely from Thailand.

Mr Cramb said retooling the local operation to produce a heavily revised Camry was more an emotional than economic decision.

“The investment into the final Camry is the sort of thing that makes me proud to be a Toyota person,” he said.

“The most financially expedient decision would be not to do that because we’re just going to run-out a car. But instead Toyota has taken the customer perspective and said, ‘well, this car is going to be available in other parts of the world, the Australian consumer deserves the car, we’re going to make the car’.” The new Camry has recently been spotted testing on Melbourne’s streets following an official debut at the New York motor show in April last year. Due to arrive in the second quarter of 2015, Mr Cramb said the Camry will be a highlight of a refreshed Toyota line-up for the year.

“The 2015 Camry is the tip of the iceberg in what is shaping up as one of our busiest years ever,” he said.

“We don’t plan to tell our competitors everything today but I can confirm that the Prius family will be revamped with significant updates to the Prius C and Prius V in 2015 and the arrival of the next generation Prius early next year.” GoAuto understands that Toyota has also negotiated an increased supply of RAV4, Kluger and Prado SUVs following constraints in 2014.

Mr Cramb said the next-generation HiLux would break cover this year, however he stopped short of saying when it will go on sale.

“We’ll probably see HiLux this year – that’s about all I can tell you,” he said.

“HiLux is the subject of a global release strategy so as soon as we can we’ll let you know. I think it’s been previously reported that HiLux could happen this year, but I can’t confirm or deny when.” Toyota’s Corolla-based C-HR concept is a further off prospect for Australia with Mr Cramb saying while it has yet to be made into a production model the baby SUV is something he would definitely like to see here.

In the meantime the new HiLux-based Fortuner is expected to arrive before the end of this year. The Thai-built four-wheel drive was sold in Australia wearing a 4Runner badge between 1984 and 1996. The next-generation vehicle is currently being developed in Australia and will be built in Thailand.

Mr Cramb would not say if the Fortuner is going to be sold in Australia but said it would fit well into Toyota’s local SUV line-up.

“That is definitely something that would fit that SUV growth. It’s a vehicle that we would have to consider and would be very appealing to a market like this,” he said.

“We do have Kluger and Prado, but there’s definitely a case to say that the Fortuner would work well here in Australia.”

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