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Toyota in sat-nav surge
Toyota and Lexus join the rush to electronic aids
15 Aug 2001
By BRUCE NEWTON
TOYOTA and Lexus Australia have announced satellite navigation will be available on 12 models before the end of 2001.
The first models to have satellite navigation - optional in these cases - will be the new Lexus IS300, which is launched next week, and an upgraded IS200 Sports Option.
They will be followed a month later by the Toyota Celica, Tarago, RAV4 and the new hybrid Prius, and Lexus LS430, GS300 and yet-to-be launched SC430 convertible and new generation ES300 sedan.
By year's end, sat-nav will also be available on a slightly facelifted Avalon, new generation Corolla and the Avensis Verso mini people-mover, both launched in December.
Three specifications are offered - the top-spec electro-multi-vision (EMV) system is standard on LS430, GS300 and SC430. The audio visual and external navigation (AVX) system will be standard on ES300 and Avalon Grande, while the IS300 and IS200 Sports Option sat-nav is a remote control system.
About eight car makes sold in Australia including Holden and Ford already offer satellite navigation on some models. Holden is about to launch "Holden Assist" telematics support for the VXII Commodore. Toyota is about two years away from offering telematics.
Other Toyota and Lexus models will be offered with sat-nav as they are facelifted or replaced. Options and accessory pricing is yet to be announced but Toyota says it will depend on the level of the system and the car.
The Toyota Motor Corporation system is the first in Australia to use DVD rather than CD-Rom data storage, with a single DVD containing all the road-map data for Australia.
Toyota claims the DVD system provides significantly faster processing time than CD-Rom and therefore faster route selection, map scrolling and re-routing.
Toyota is also hyping the fact that its system is the first available in Australia with a touch screen for most models.
The "Navi" system has been developed in co-operation with Denso and has taken two years to finalise for release.
Toyota says it now has the potential for up to 50 per cent of the 150,000 vehicles it delivers annually to be fitted with Navi. However, it says initial take-up is likely to be no more than 2.5 per cent.
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