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Brothers in arms

Side by side: Toyota Australia boss David Buttner believes the Falcon needs to be successful for the sake of local manufacturing.

Toyota wishes Ford success with FG Falcon

Toyota logo9 Apr 2008

By DAVID HASSALL

TOYOTA may thrive on market domination in Australia, but the company also knows what is good for the industry and wants to see the FG Falcon succeed.

The company’s executive director of sales and marketing, David Buttner, this week extended an uncharacteristic word of encouragement to one of its main rivals.

“I don’t comment on competitors’ products, but because they’re a local manufacturer I wish them every success,” Mr Buttner told GoAuto.

“I think it’s important that the three remaining local manufacturers have a good volume base that supports local suppliers, creates employment in Australia and generates income, so I hope they do very well with the car.”

 center imageLeft: Toyota executive director of sales and marketing, David Buttner.

Mr Buttner also hopes that the new Falcon will help to stimulate sales of the traditional Aussie six-cylinder car.

“When Aurion and Commodore were launched (in 2006), there was some stabilisation for a period. However, there’s since been a continued decline and in the first quarter this year that ‘large six’ (market) was down 21 per cent again.

“At the same time, Aurion is performing very well for us – our model volume aspirations for that product was 15 per cent over the model life we exceeded that through full year 2007 and this year we have 20.8 per cent in that market.”

Of course, with the segment in a slump, Toyota has a growing share of a declining total, but Mr Buttner said that Aurion was still “fulfilling our volume aspirations”.

The other problem for Toyota is that, even though it produced a record number of cars at the Altona plant last year, it has become something of a victim of its own export success.

While domestic consumption of Camry/Aurion is relatively static, exports have risen dramatically in recent years – and that has changed the balance well away from its desired 50-50 split.

Exports accounted for two-thirds of total production in 2007, so Toyota is keen to improve on last year’s combined Camry/Aurion domestic sales figure of 48,000.

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