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Toyota hikes prices

Up and away: Yaris pricing now starts at $15,690.

Crook exchange rates see Toyota lift all prices, except for Camry, Aurion or Prius

Toyota logo2 Dec 2008

By MARTON PETTENDY

TOYOTA has blamed “adverse currency movements” on a 2.4 per cent price rise that will see its sticker prices increase by an average of $900 from January 1 for all models except the locally-manufactured Camry and Aurion - plus the Prius hybrid, which is now in run-out mode ahead of its replacement before mid-2009.

Toyota Australia senior executive director for sales and marketing, David Buttner, hinted at October’s Sydney motor show that an across-the-board price rise was imminent following the recent dramatic fall in the value of the Australian dollar.

“The Australian dollar has weakened against the yen by more than 35 per cent in the past three months,” said Mr Buttner in a statement today, following the release of the higher new-vehicle recommended retail prices to its dealers.

“The current rate is more than 20 per cent below the long-term average of around 79 yen – and we do not expect it to recover to any great degree in the near future.

“In the past year, there have also been steep increases in the prices of raw materials, such as steel. In the light of all these pressures, we believe the increase of 2.4 per cent from the start of the New Year is extremely modest.”

Toyota says most prices for its smallest model, the Yaris, will rise by $500, with a maximum increase of $800. The new opening price for the Yaris light-car range is $15,690 for the three-door manual – up $500.

Similarly, the cheapest Corolla also rises by $500, to $21,490 for the Ascent manual sedan and hatch, while the largest Toyota small-car price increase is $750.

 center image The steepest 2009 price rises are reserved for Toyota’s SUV and commercial vehicles, with the 200-Series LandCruiser wagon rising by between $2662 and $3773 – the latter for the flagship Sahara petrol.

Prado medium SUV pricing will go up by between $592 and $2000, while its Kluger segment stablemate will be between $1051 and $1500 more expensive.

Meantime, the LandCruiser 70-Series utility rises in price by between $1100 and $1500, while HiLux 4x2 prices rise by a maximum of $750 and 4x4 prices will lift by up to $1700.

Big rises are also in store for Toyota bus buyers, with the Coaster to increase by $2500, the HiAce commuter to rise by $2000 and the HiAce van to become between $700 and $1000 pricier.

Finally, both Avensis variant prices will rise by $1000, the RAV4 compact SUV range will undergo an average $500 price increase and Tarago people-mover sticker prices will move upwards by between $616 and $1750 – the latter not until February 9.

Toyota will also lift the retail prices of its metallic paint option, to $350 or $400 (up by between $25 and $400) – more on models affected by the luxury car tax.

Mr Buttner said the company deliberately “protected” its locally-produced models from the latest round of price increases, and stressed that despite tighter finance availability globally and in Australia following the imminent departure of US financiers GMAC and GE, Toyota Australia dealers continued to provide customer credit.

“That is a significant indication of our parent company’s support for our local operations and for the sale of these cars in the domestic and export markets.

“We want to get consumers to visit their Toyota dealership and to understand consumer financing and leasing is certainly available through Toyota.

“Almost 85 per cent of Toyota dealers source credit through Toyota Finance, whose debt is rated Triple A by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

“The rest of our network also has solid arrangements in place with large Australian or global institutions,” he said.

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