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First look: Toyota reveals updated Camry

Camry connection: Toyota says Camry is appealing more to buyers in the 35 to 45-year-old bracket.

Toyota tweaks the Camry before an all-new model arrives in 2006

16 Sep 2004

TOYOTA has taken the wraps off its updated Camry, revealing a $17 million model line-up rejig and price adjustment, but no significant mechanical changes.

This is the only major launch Toyota Australia plans in 2004 and the only real change for this 380N fifth generation Camry before it is replaced by an all-new model in early 2006.

It’s a short turnaround considering this Camry only went on sale in September 2002. But that’s because Aussie on-sale is to come online as part of the global new model launch rather than a year later as happened with the current car.

This generation Camry has been holding its own for Toyota this year, playing an important role in its extending sales leadership.

It continues to claim more than half the medium passenger car market with the 2.4-litre four-cylinder version, while the 3.0-litre V6 has 7.6 per cent of the large car segment, passing the declining Mitsubishi Magna (7.5 per cent) along the way.

But Camry and Toyota’s other large car entrant, Avalon, are minnows in this segment compared to the traditional leaders, the Holden Commodore with 42.7 per cent and Ford Falcon with 37.1 per cent.

So considering all that, it is understandable the level of changes for Camry are restricted to:  The addition of a new Grande V6 luxury model with unique locally developed suspension tune.

 A reduction in price of Sportivo V6 models, but price rises for the rest of the range (see full price comparison next page).

 Added equipment including cruise control, air-conditioning and vehicle alarm standard on all models and power-operated driver’s seat on V6s (see chart next page).

 The deletion of the Altise Sport V6 model in the wake of the Sportivo price adjustment.

 All cars get new rear combination lamps, new wheels/wheel covers and a revised front mask, the latter including four new grilles, a new bumper and, where applicable, foglamps and foglamp covers. These were all adapted locally by Toyota Style Australia.

 The Azura and Sportivo models feature a TSA-developed aero kit.

 The introduction of the Toyota Link telematics system, which is basically the old Holden Assist by another name.

The price reduction for Sportivo V6 is a substantial $1490 for the manual and $490 for the auto.

Toyota also claims a specification upgrade means an increase in value of $2080 over the superseded Sportivo manual and $1080 on the automatic.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Dave Buttner said the reduction in price of Sportivo was intended to encourage more buyers to choose it.

"The introduction of a sports line has changed the face of Camry," he said.

"It is now our intention to build on that success.

"The prices reflect the results of strong market research and will carry Camry well into 2005." Toyota claims the launch of the sports line in the current Camry range has been instrumental in the change of buyer pattern.

This year, sports Camrys have been outselling the conventional package by 2.5:1. Last year the ratio in favour of the sports package was 2:1.

Toyota says Camry is appealing more to buyers in the 35 to 45-year-old bracket, as is the Kluger cross-over launched in 2003.

"There is a definite change in the look of the Toyota buyer and to a degree it’s being driven by a policy of specific target marketing of cars like Camry Sportivo and Kluger," said Mr Buttner.

"Camry is no longer sold as an all-in package. Individual grades within the range are now targeted directly to specific customer needs.

"This targeted approach is paying substantial dividends – both in terms of sales and also in terms of Toyota’s image and appeal."

8 center image The re-introduction of the Grande (left) nameplate to Camry (discontinued along with the rest of the Vienta line with the introduction of the Avalon in 2000) is part of what Toyota calls its ‘Y’ strategy.

In both the four and six-cylinder ranges the level one Altise forms the bottom of the ‘Y’.

Higher grades, with more specification, can then be ordered either with conventional suspension, on one side of the ‘Y’, or sports suspension in the other stream.

Mid-grade Ateva, on conventional suspension, has made up less than a third of demand above Altise this year.

Demand for Sportivo, high grade Azura and limited edition Altise Sport has this year comprised 71 per cent of all demand above the base model.

Toyota is planning for the trend to continue, but with reservations.

"It is important not to lose touch with our traditional market," Mr Buttner said.

"The introduction of Camry Grande, a highly specified high grade model on conventional suspension calibration, is intended to keep faith with customers who could not find the level of comfort and equipment they desired in our existing range.

"There will be some cross-over between Grande, sports luxury Azura and Avalon Grande – but not enough to make any significant difference to our bottom line.

"It’s a readjustment in the interest of our loyal customers." The new Grande has a recommended retail price of $46,000 and unique equipment that includes full-face leather seat trim, seven-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior door handles, body colour and chrome-insert body side protection moulding, chrome exhaust diffuser and chrome surround radiator grille with chrome insert, and chrome plus body colour rear garnish.

Grande standard equipment also includes dual front SRS airbags, front seat side SRS airbags, ABS, a new four-spoke leather steering wheel with audio controls, satellite navigation, power front seats, power-operated moonroof and overhead sunglasses holder.

There’s also a three-in-one audio system with boot-mounted six-CD multi changer and six speakers, rear sunshade, leather-bound gearshift lever and parking brake lever, and interior woodgrain effect.

FEATURES:

The feature level improvements, by model grade, are: Entry level Camry Altise 2.4: Cruise control, alarm, driver and passenger vanity mirrors with covers, new body side protection mouldings, new rear garnish.

Camry Altise V6: Alarm and immobiliser, power driver’s seat, driver and passenger vanity mirrors with covers, new body side protection mouldings, new rear garnish.

Ateva 2.4 and V6: Climate control air-conditioning (in place of manual), four-spoke leather steering wheel with audio controls, wood-grain effect on upper front console box, illumination for driver and passenger vanity mirrors.

Sportivo 2.4: Three-spoke leather steering wheel with audio controls, brushed aluminium pedals, Sportivo front scuff plates, front upper console box and lights for driver, passenger vanity mirrors, new red mesh sports seat covers, new all-black interior.

Sportivo V6: Three-spoke leather steering wheel with audio controls, brushed aluminium pedals, Sportivo front scuff plates, front upper console box, new Alcantara sports seat covers and new all-black interior. The latter is said to be a first for Camry.

Azura V6: Toyota Link telematics, three-spoke leather steering wheel with audio controls, brushed aluminium pedals, electro-chromatic interior rear vision mirror, woodgrain effect on upper front console box, Alcantara/leather sports seat covers.

PRICING:

Toyota Camry Recommended Retail Pricing NewOld
Altise 2.4 manual$27,500$26,990
Altise 2.4 automatic$29,000$28,790
Ateva 2.4 automatic$32,730$31,490
Sportivo 2.4 manual$31,500$30,990
Sportivo 2.4 automatic$32,500$31,990
Altise V6 manual$32,000$31,490
Altise V6 automatic $33,000$32,490
Ateva V6 automatic$37,120$35,990
Sportivo V6 manual $37,500$38,990
Sportivo V6 automatic$38,500$38,990
Grande V6 automatic$46,000n/a
Azura V6 automatic$49,100$48,990

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