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Toyota Australia mulls GR Sport Camry
Australia could see a warmed, Sonata N-Line-fighting GR Sport Camry from Toyota
16 Feb 2021
TOYOTA Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA) has revealed it is studying the possible introduction of a GR Sport Camry following the release of a series of model-specific GR body and suspension components in Japan.
Available either in sets or individually, the new ‘GR Parts’ centre first and foremost around beefing up the Camry’s appearance to make it more menacing through the addition of a new GR-branded front splitter, redesigned grille garnish, more aggressive side skirts, redesigned and bigger lip spoiler, quad exhaust tips and a new rear diffuser.
All of these features combine to shed 28mm from the Camry’s ground clearance, making it look lower and sportier without actually touching the springs.
The Camry’s rolling stock can also be upgraded to GR-spec 19-inch alloys shod with Goodyear EfficientGrip Comfort rubber while a GR ‘performance damper’ – developed by Yamaha – promises to eliminate “the vibration and noise that you feel while driving” and improve body rigidity.
While only available in Japan for the time being, a TMCA spokesperson confirmed to GoAuto that while there were no current plans to bring GR Parts to Australia, a GR Sport Camry was not something to be ruled out in the future.
“Our GR brand in general has been growing steadily as we have introduced more and more vehicles and products to this sub brand,” they said.
“However at this stage we have not received any strong feedback from the market for a GR version of Camry, although a GR Sport version is a more likely proposition in this segment, but is not something that we have received strong demand for either at this point in time”.
The emergence of a GR Sport Camry would likely bode well for TMCA in the current climate because while passenger vehicle sales as a whole are falling in favour of SUVs, the remaining segment players are all producing warmed versions of their low-riding four-doors.
Hyundai, Mazda and Skoda all have or will very soon have sports-minded versions of their respective Sonata (N-Line), Mazda6 (GT SP) and Superb (206 Sportline) on the market, not to mention Subaru with its Levorg wagon or even the more upmarket Kia Stinger.
With such a large number of brands and models vying for what is becoming an increasingly niche market, a GR Sport Camry would ultimately broaden TMCA’s model reach.
Given the Camry is presently available with a 224kW/362Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, local engineers would not even have to change anything under the bonnet to remain competitive with the established players, even if the torque figure is down a bit on the force-fed four-bangers – the V6 fights back with a superior kilowatt count.
All that would be needed is a cosmetic makeover and some chassis tweaks to up the handling stakes.
The brand has form here too given it launched the C-HR GR Sport in December last year which pinches the front fascia straight off the GR Yaris and comes with a sportier suspension set-up as well as a few other performance-minded touch ups.
“At this stage it is a bit too early to see what the ongoing percentage of sales is likely to be,” the spokesperson said in regards to the C-HR GR Sport.
“In the first two months GR Sport variants have been approximately 5.0 per cent of sales and we expect this to grow with time.”
With a mid-life-cycle update for the Camry due to arrive in Australia in the middle of the year, only time will tell if TMCA genuinely plans to join the defiant performance-minded sedan market.
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