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Australian Camry to miss out on safety tech

Stopping short: Safety features such as autonomous braking, which can prevent a low-speed crash, won’t be available on Australian-made versions of the Camry.

High-tech safety systems used on US Camry won’t come to Australia

Toyota logo17 Apr 2014

By BARRY PARK in New York

TOYOTA’S new Camry is shaping up to be the safest ever built – but Australia will have to miss out on all of it.

The US version of the Camry, unveiled in New York overnight and due to roll out worldwide from later this year, includes a suite of safety technology including autonomous city braking to help a driver avoid a low-speed crash, sensors that keep the car from straying out of its lane, blind spot warnings and more.

However, Australian buyers will have to wait until an all-new generation of the mid-size fleet favourite, built in one of up to five Toyota factories worldwide vying for Australia’s 70,000-plus production capacity and imported here, arrives in late 2017.

Toyota North America group vice-president Bill Fay said Toyota had equipped the US version of the Camry with a complete suite of safety advances.

“Toyota has never scrimped on safety,” Mr Fay said. “So we’re offering advanced safety features like our forward collision alert system, lane departure alert, active cruise control, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and auto high beams,” he said.

“With our star safety systems standard across all grades, we expect Camry to achieve a NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Authority) five-star safety rating, and an IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) top safety pick-plus.”

The version of the Camry to go on sale in Australia during 2015 will wear the same exterior and interior as the model unveiled in New York overnight.

However, Toyota Australia public relations manager Mike Breen said the locally-made Camry, due some time in 2015 and months behind its roll-out in other world markets, would not have all the added safety features available to the US version of the mid-size car.

“We don’t get all the other safety stuff,” Mr Breen said.

Asked why Australia would miss out on the Camry's technology when it was made locally, Mr Breen said it was too early to go into details "this far out from launch".

"The full story will be revealed at the launch next year," he said.

The current-generation Camry on sale in Australia has earned a top five-star rating from Australia’s crash safety watchdog, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), since it first rolled off the Altona production line in Melbourne’s west in 2006.

However, the crash test regime is yet to be updated to take account of updated safety technology that is slowly rolling out through new-car showrooms.

ANCAP’s future has been cast into doubt after the federal government said it was questioning if there was any need to keep a separate crash testing authority once Ford, Holden and Toyota quit local manufacturing by the end of 2017.

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