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Toyota still keen on fleet business for imported Camry

Back to business: The Toyota Camry will continue to be pitched to fleet buyers, including police agencies around the country.

Government, police fleet sales still focus for Toyota Camry but V6 also holds appeal

Toyota logo24 Nov 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

TOYOTA Australia says it will continue to pitch its new-generation Camry at large fleet buyers, including government, police organisations and emergency services following a switch in sourcing to Japan after the closure of its local manufacturing operations last month.

Many big fleet operators, particularly government departments, have previously had policies specifying that a majority of its vehicles must be built in Australia, but the shut-down of mass manufacturing following the closure of Holden’s factory in late October has scrapped those guidelines.

More than 50 per cent of sales for the outgoing Australian-built Camry were fleet purchases, including user choosers, and Toyota will still chase business buyers with the freshly launched eighth-generation mid-sizer.

Toyota Australia senior divisional manager of sales and marketing Sean Hanley told GoAuto that fleet sales would continue to be a key area of business with the new Camry and hinted that the V6-powered variant that replaces the Aurion could be part of police fleets.

“We certainly have an interest in government,” he said at the Camry launch in Coffs Harbour this week. “We see a possible market with police, particularly in the V6 performance area. And we will be engaging with government on opportunities going forward.”

Toyota models, particularly the Camry hybrid, have been a popular pick for taxi operators in the past and Mr Hanley clarified that it was a different market to the fleet business.

“Taxi is different (to fleet business) because they buy second-hand cars. It’s not a market we are targeting per se with this new Camry. However, it will offer a compelling proposition in the second-hand market with resale value, reliability and of course hybrid credentials.”

Mr Hanley said Toyota expected that many owners of the previous Camry would purchase the new version, while others would look at other models in the Toyota model portfolio.

“We believe that a lot of those guests that bought Toyotas as part of that 90,000 (previous Camry) will not only look at this new Camry as a brilliant new value and style proposition... particularly the hybrid, but will also look at other cars such as the C-HR, such as the RAV4, such as the Corolla.

“So we are equally aware that whilst the volumes of current LM (locally manufactured) sales will drop to a level we are yet to understand, we are very confident that those customers in the locally made Camry will also look at other Toyotas in the range as well as this new Camry.”

With the demise of the Aurion following the closure of manufacturing, the new Camry is offered with a V6 option, and Mr Hanley said it could appeal to non-Toyota buyers.

“We think it will attract a whole new customer to Toyota. As well as existing.”

Asked whether the V6 variant provided Toyota an opportunity to appeal to people who may have previously bought a Holden Commodore SV6 or Ford Falcon XR6, Mr Hanley said: “It is one opportunity. Not our primary opportunity.

“I think that hybrid will be the hero of this car (Camry) going forward. I think it will substantially increase its sales mix over the next five years, not overnight but over the next five years.

“I do think though there is still a market for V6 performance in the Australian consumer’s mind. Whilst I see hybrid over the next eight years substantially increasing its mix of sales, I still think the Australian market wants power and performance and the V6 is situated nicely in terms of its performance, its styling and its value to suit that market.”

He was coy when asked if there was a spicier version of the V6 or hybrid Camry waiting in the wings to satisfy Australia’s performance car market, but highlighted the importance of Gazoo Racing and the opportunity for future Toyota sportscars.

“We don’t have any plans to announce today and I certainly don’t have any plans for the future now because we are just launching this one.

“Gazoo Racing is a really important development team for Toyota globally. I think that will present us with some really exciting, wonderful opportunity for sportscars in the future. I don’t have any plans or announcements today but I am certainly excited by the prospects of Toyota sportscars in the future. I am particularly excited about hybrid concept sportscars we have now and what that could mean for the future.”

Toyota also confirmed that there will be approximately 500 examples of the outgoing seventh-generation Camry that will be delivered early next year, but many of them were already sold to fleet operators.

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