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Toyota holds new Camry prices
Private buyers in Toyota's sights as it launches better value, more frugal Camry
7 Dec 2011
TOYOTA Australia has ramped up the value of its all-new Camry by holding most prices and increasing features as it guns for a larger slice of the private buyer market with its make-or-break seventh-generation mid-sizer that hits showrooms late this month.
Australia's biggest car-maker has effectively split the mid-size sedan – Australia's best-selling medium car for 18 years – into two models (Altise and Atara), with the latter designed specifically to go after private customers.
Toyota Australia senior executive director of sales and marketing David Buttner said Toyota wanted to lift its private-buyer proportion of Camry sales well above the current 26 per cent, while also growing its fleet sales.
“We are going to challenge our competitors significantly in this area (private sales),” Mr Buttner said at the Australian media launch for the locally made new model that will also be exported to 20 countries.
The entry-level Altise – priced at the same $30,490 as the outgoing model – will continue to cater for the mass fleet market, while the more aggressively styled and more sumptuously equipped Atara is designed to catch the eye of the family buyer and so-called user-choosers – business and lease customers.
The Atara itself has three levels – S, SX and SL – replacing the outgoing Camry's Ateva, Sportivo and Grande and priced between $33,490 and $39,990.
While the Altise and Atara SL prices have been held at the same level as the previous equivalents, the Atara S price ($33,490) is up $1000 compared with the Ateva and the Atara SX ($35,990) is up $2000 on the outgoing Sportivo.
The new Camry Hybrid will arrive in about three months, with the Camry-based, V6-only Aurion large sedan to follow in the second quarter.
The locally made Camry is critical for the future of Toyota's manufacturing operations in Australia, which the company has warned faces stiff competition for investment dollars from other arms of Toyota hungry for a bigger slice of production.
Toyota, which has been making cars in Australia since 1963, is investing $300 million in a new engine plant at its factory at Altona to build the new 2.5-litre four-cylinder AR engine for both local and – for the first time – export Camry consumption, as well as countless millions of dollars on development of the new model and changes to its Altona assembly operations.
The new engine, which will be imported from Japan until the new engine plant comes on stream in late 2012, helps to deliver 11 per cent better fuel efficiency – down from 8.8 litres per 100km to just 7.8L/100km – making the Camry the most fuel-efficient Australian-built car except for Holden's smaller Cruze.
Toyota claims the latest Camry can travel an extra 100km on each tank of petrol, while producing less carbon dioxide, with CO2 emissions down 25 grams per kiliometre or 12 per cent, to 183g/km.
Camry power is up between 13 per cent and 15 per cent, depending on the model, with the 135kW Atara getting slight more grunt than the 133kW Altise due to the former's dual exhaust – a first for a Camry.
Peak torque is up six per cent, to 231Nm for the Altise and 235Nm for the Atara, thanks to a range of engine enhancements that include variable valve timing on the exhaust side as well as the inlet, and a variable intake system that helps to deliver more torque in the mid-range.
While the engine still runs on standard 91 RON unleaded, the compression ratio has been lifted to from 9.6:1 to 10.4:1.
All Camrys will be equipped with a new-generation six-speed automatic transmission in place of the five-speed auto of the previous model, with the Atara getting steering wheel shift paddles.
The slow-selling five-speed manual transmission was dropped earlier this year, and will not reappear in this generation.
Another major change is the switch to electric-assisted power steering, which helps fuel economy and permitted engineers to dial in more variation for city and country driving.
Externally, the Camry is roughly the same dimensions as the outgoing model. It rides on an identical 2775mm wheelbase to the previous model.
Rear seat room has increased by 45mm, partly by moving the rear seat back 8mm and the front seat forward 7mm, but also by sculpting the back of the fronts seats for more knee clearance.
Exterior wise, the Altise and Atara have been given a completely different front fascia, with a sportier grille and bumper treatment on the Atara.
Among the firsts for an Australian-built car is automatic headlight dimming on the top-of-the-range Atara SL, which also gets a blind-spot warning system.
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