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Camry's sporting chance

With style:: The Sportivo range includes (clockwise from top) Camry, Celica, Avalon, Corolla, Echo and MR2.

Toyota aims for a new, younger audience with the next generation Camry

21 Aug 2001

TOYOTA will increase its effort to capture a more sports-oriented audience for the new generation Camry when it goes on sale in August, 2002.

A key part of the plan will be to introduce a full-time Sportivo member of the range, replacing the venerable "Touring" nameplate, which has been around since 1995.

With the next Camry growing closer to the struggling Avalon in size, Toyota Australia is acutely conscious of separating the two cars more in image terms, particularly as they will continue to share the same V6 drivetrain.

The move will also serve as an opportunity to further promote Toyota's Sportivo brand, which was launched at the Sydney motor show in October, 2000.

The development of Sportivo product is managed by Toyota's Conversions and Motorsport division (T-CAM) at Woolooware Bay, Sydney.

The first cars launched under the new brand were the Sportivo Echo and Corolla turbo earlier this year.

But do not expect the Camry Sportivo to be a wild sports performer. While it will have limited performance tuning - most noticeably to the suspension - and a sports styling kit, engine modifications such as supercharging are out of the question for the moment.

But there is a possibility some sort of T-CAM developed power-up kit may be offered as a dealer accessory from the launch of the new Camry, along with more pronounced suspension tuning.

T-CAM manager strategic and business planning and quality administration Neal Daniel estimated it would take at least two to three years before a supercharged engine program for Camry would see the light of day here, and even then it would be a local rather than factory fitted installation. He stressed such a program had not been signed off.

"We can get the power out of Camry using a TRD USA supercharger, that gets 184kW, but it's not a nice bolt-in fit because it's designed for left-hand drive," Mr Daniel said.

"We've got engineering prototype mules running around testing and all that but it's an Eaton (supercharger) system that's fairly coarse in NVH - the engine and transmission cope with it very well, but it's still not good enough quality for us." Mr Daniel conceded there was a need to lure new population demographics into the Toyota range, particularly the Camry, which is the cornerstone of domestic and export sales for Toyota Australia, and more power could be part of the package.

"Ultimately, we need to be at the young level," he said.

"We're not in the position to go from where we are now to go to young level, so we've got to gradually push the demographic down.

"So for Camry if the purchase demographic is 45-year-olds plus, we need to work it with the next model Camry down to 35-year-olds, and if we can make it a little more attractive we might push that to 30."

Sportivo style

TOYOTA has released new Sportivo performance and styling accessories for the Corolla range.

Corolla owners can now specify sports suspension springs, a new design 15-inch alloy wheel, rear spoiler and spoiler risers, and sports exhaust extension.

The sports suspension springs were originally designed for the high-performance Corolla Turbo Sportivo limited edition model.

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